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' // any study is liberal and liberalizing, 
it is the modern study of history." 

— Charles W. Eliot, 

E ucational Reform. 





Webster's Ancient History 

From prehistoric times to the Age of Charlemagne 

Webster's Early European History 

From prehistoric times to the seventeenth century- 
Webster's Early European History — Part I 

The Ancient History section of the above book 

Webster's Early European History — Part II 

From the fall of Rome to the seventeenth century 

Webster's Readings in Ancient History 

Webster's Readings in Medieval and Modern 

D. C. HEATH & CO., Publishers 




SEP 29 1917 

1^^ I ' 


This volume is intended to provide sufficient supplementary read- 
ing, chiefly of a biographical or narrative character, for a high-school 
course in medieval and modern history. The arrangement of the 
volume is the same as that of my earlier Readings in Ancient History. 
Each chapter deals with a single epoch or personality and presents the 
work of a single author. The passages quoted are long enough to 
make a definite impression on the reader, thus avoiding the scrappy 
effect necessarily produced by a set of short, unrelated extracts. 
Since many of the selections are good literature as well as good history, 
I hope that students wUl be tempted to turn to the original sources 
from which excerpts have been taken, and to read in them at length 
for their own enjoyment. 

Several chapters of the book (notably III, VI, XXIII, XXV, 
XXVI, XXX, XXXII, and XXXV) deserve careful examination and 
analysis in the classroom. They may be made the basis for simple 
exercises in historical method. Chapters XXV and XXVI, XXX and 
XXXI, and XXXII and XXXIII furnish material for useful com- 
parative studies, showing how differently the same facts may be viewed 
by different men. Teachers will also find in the table of contents 
and in the index entries many subjects for oral reports or essays. 

I have tried to present the best translations, whenever a choice 
between versions was open to me, to simplify or modernize the lan- 
guage, when involved or archaic, and to supply each selection with 
such comments and notes as seem indispensable for its understanding. 
All important omissions have been carefully indicated. 

It would not have been possible to present so rich a collection of 
historical readings without the generous cooperation of many pub- 
lishers, both in this country and in England. My obligations are 
the following: to Harper and Brothers, for the passages from Bis- 
marck's Autobiography; to Charles Scribner's Sons, for those from 
the Memoirs of Chancellor Pasquier and Prince Metternich; to Mac- 
millan and Company, for those from the Speeches and Table-talk of 



the Prophet Mohammad and the Letters of Martin Luther; to George 
Bell and Sons, for those from Glaister's translation of Einhard, 
Pepys's Diary, and Arthur Young's Travels in France; to Chatto 
and Windus, for those from their "King's Classics" series {Rule of 
St. Benedict, English Correspondence of St. Boniface, Asserts Life of 
King Alfred, Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, and Song of Roland) ; 
to Longmans, Green, and Company, for those from the Epistles of 
Erasmus, edited by F. M. Nichols; to Philip Lee Warner, publisher 
to the Medici Society, for those from Vasari's Lives; to John Murray, 
for those from Sir Henry Yule's edition of Marco Polo; to Methuen 
and Company, for those from Lomas's edition of Carlyle's Letters 
and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell; to the Walter Scott Publishing Com- 
pany, for those from Harrison's Elizabethan England; to Chapman 
and Hall, for those from Bingham's edition of the Letters and Des- 
patches of the First Napoleon; and to George Allen and Unwin, for those 
from Beowulf. The translations from the Heimskringla, the Little 
Flowers of St. Francis, the Nibelungenlied; and the chronicles of 
Villehardouin and Joinville are used through an agreement with 
J. M. Dent and Sons. Finally, I owe to Mr. W. D. Foulke, the 
translator, and to the Department of History, University of Pennsyl- 
vania, the publisher, my permission to use the selections from Paul 
the Deacon's History of the Langobards. 


Lincoln, Nebraska, 
May, 1Q17 



I. Stories of the Lombard Kings i 

1 . Alboin and Turisind i 

2. Assassination of Alboin 3 

3. Authari and Theudelinda 5 

4. A Miracle 6 

5. A Knightly Exploit 7 

6. King Liutprand 8 

II. Charlemagne . 9 

7. Charlemagne's Conquests and Alliances .... 9 

8. Charlemagne as a Builder 11 

9. Domestic Life of Charlemagne 12 

ID. Charlemagne's PersonaUty and Habits .... 13 

11. Charlemagne's Regard for the Church .... 16 

12. Last Days of Charlemagne 18 

III. The Benedictine Rule 22 

13. The Abbot and His Duties 23 

14. The Monastic Vows 24 

15. Conduct of the Monastery 27 

16. Occupations of the Monks 30 

IV. The Reestablishment of Christianity in Britain . 32 

17. Pope Gregory's Interest in the Conversion of the 

Anglo-Saxons 32 

18. Landing of Augustine in Britain S3 

19. Pope Gregory's Letter on Converting the 

Heathen 36 

20. PauHnus and the Conversion of Northumbria . 37 

V. St. Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans . '. . 40 

21. Bishop Daniel's Letter of Introduction .... 41 

22. A Letter from the Abbess Bugga 41 

23. Bishop Daniel's Instructions to St. Boniface . 42 

24. St. Boniface Asks for Prayers 44 

25. How St. Boniface Ruled 45 

26. St. Boniface's Martyrdom 46 

vi Contents 


VI. The Teachings of Mohammed 48 

27. Prayer and Almsgiving 48 

28. Fasts and Pilgrimages 49 

29. Prohibitions 50 

30. Civil and Criminal Law 51 

31. Traditional Sayings 52 

VII. The Saga of a Viking 56 

32. Olaf's Early Career 56 

S3. Olaf as King of Norway 61 

VIII. Alfred the Great 65 

34. Alfred's Zeal for Study 65 

35. Character and Virtues of Alfred 66 

36. Alfred's Handbook 68 

37. Alfred's Administration of Justice 69 

IX. William the Conqueror and the Normans in Eng- 
land 71 

38. Negotiations of William and Harold 71 

39. Landing of the Normans in England 72 

40. The Battle of Hastings 74 

41. English and Norman Customs 77 

42. William's Character 79 

43. Death of WiUiam 80 

X. Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century .... 82 

44. The Choice of an Abbot 82 

45. Samson Elected Abbot 85 

46. Samson's Rule of the Monastery 86 

47. Complaints against Samson's Rule 87 

48. Appearance and Character of Abbot Samson . 88 

XI. St. Francis and the Franciscans 91 

49. Conversion of Friar Bernard 91 

50. Friar Bernard in Bologna 94 

. 51. Humihty of St. Francis 96 

52. The Praise of Poverty 97 

53. St. Francis Preaches to the Birds 98 

XII. Richard the Lion-hearted and the Third Crusade 100 

54. Personality of Richard 100 

55. Capture of Acre loi 

56. Richard's Deeds in the Holy Land 102 

Contents vii 


XIII. The Fourth Crusade and the Capture of Con- 

stantinople 107 

57. First Preaching of the Crusade 107 

58. The Covenant with the Doge of Venice . . . 108 

59. The Doge Assumes the Cross 109 

60. The Crusaders before Constantinople .... no 

61. Foundation of the Latin Empire 114 

XIV. St. Louis . 118 

62. Virtues of St. Louis .'. 118 

63. How St. Louis Worshipped and did Justice . . 120 

64. Instructions of St. Louis to His Son 122 

XV. Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 125 

65. Battle of Crecy 126 

66. Surrender of Calais 130 

67. Battle of Poitiers 134 

XVI. Memoirs of a French Courtier •. 138 

68. Character of Louis XI 138 

69. The Divided State of Europe 141 

70. A Description of Venice 143 

71. Savonarola 145 

72. Death of Savonarola ' . . 147 

XVII. Medieval Tales 150 

73. Dead Alexander 150 

74. The Eight Pennies 151 

75. The Three Truths 153 

76. The Hermit 155 

77. The Laziest Son 157 

78. The Basilisk 158 

79. The Tale of a Penny 159 

XVIII. Three Medieval Epics 160 

80. The Song of Roland 160 

81. Beowulf 167 

82. The Nibelungenlied 172 

XIX, A Scholar of the Renaissance 180 

83. The Life of Erasmus 180 

84. To Christian 184 

85. To Pope Leo X 185 

86. To Capito 186 

viii Contents 


XX. Renaissance Artists = « i88 

87. Leonardo da Vinci 188 

88. Michelangelo Buonarroti 191 

89. Raffaello Sanzio 194 

XXI. The Travels or Marco Polo 196 

90. The Three Magi 197 

91. The Old Man of the Mountain 199 

92. The Desert of Gobi 201 

93. Customs of the Tartars 202 

94. Paper Money of the Great Khan 205 

95. Coal in China 207 

96. Chinese Astrologers 207 

97. A Description of Japan 208 

98. The Pearl-Fishers of Ceylon 210 

99. Hindu Brahmans 211 

XXII. The Aborigines of the New World 214 

100. The Indians of Dominica and Venezuela ... 214 

i.oi. The Natives of Florida 216 

102. The Carolina Indians 218 

103. The Eskimos 220 

104. The CaHfornia Indians 223 

XXIII. Martin Luther and the Beginning of the Refor- 
mation 226 

105. To John Lang 226 

106. To Albrecht, Archbishop of Mayence .... 227 

107. To Pope Leo X 228 

108. To Pope Leo X 230 

109. To the Emperor Charles V 232 

no. To George Spalatin 233 

111. To George Spalatin 234 

112. To Philip Melanchthon 234 

113. To His Father, Hans Luther 235 

XXIV. England in the Age of Eliz.\betii 237 

114. Food and Diet 237 

115. Apparel and Attire 238 

116. Houses and Furniture 240 

117. Beggars 242 

118. Robbers 243 

119. Punishments 244 

120. The Universities 245 

Contents ix 


XXV. Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 247 

121. Archbishop Laud 247 

122. Trial of the Earl of Strafford 249 

1 23. Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford 251 

124. John Hampden 253 

125. Trial of King Charles I 254. 

126. Oliver CromweU 257 

XXVI. Oliver Cromwell 263 

127. Battle of Marston Moor 260 

128. Battle of Naseby 261 

129. Storming of Drogheda 262 

130. Rejection of the Kingship 264 

131. Dissolution of the Second Parhament .... 265 

132. Cromwell's Prayer 267 

XXVII. English Life and Manners under the Restoration 26S 

133. Arrival of Charles II in England 268 

134. Trial and Execution of the Regicides .... 270 

135. Coronation of Charles II 271 

136. The Great Plague in London 272 

137. The Great Fire in London 273 

XXVIII. Louis XIV and His Court 276 

138. Louis XIV 277 

139. Versailles and Marly 280 

140. Court Life 281 

XXIX. The x\borigines of the Pacific 285 

141. The Tahitians 285 

142. The Natives of the Marquesas Islands .... 292 

143. The Hawaiian Islanders 294 

XXX. France on the Eve of the Revolution 297 

144. Poverty and Misery of the People 297 

145. Poor Cultivation of the Land 300 

146. Extravagant Expenditures 301 

147. Defective Administration of Justice 303 

148. Signs of Impending Revolution 304 

XXXI. Scenes of the French Revolution 307 

149. The Old Regime 307 

150. Opening of the Revolution 311 

151. Trial and Execution of Louis XVI 315 

152. The Reign of Terror 316 

153. The " i8th and 19th Brumaire " 320 



XXXII. Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon .... 323 

154. Napoleon's Early Years 323 

155. The Rise of Napoleon 325 

156. Napoleon as Consul 327 

157. Napoleon as Emperor 329 

158. Decline and Fall of Napoleon 332 

159. Napoleon's Will ^t,^ 

XXXIII. Napoleon 339 

160. Mental Characteristics 339 

161. Political Ideas . 341 

162. Personality 343 

163. Place in History 344 

XXXIV. Bismarck and the Unification of Germany . . 348 

164. " Blood and Iron " 348 

165. The Schleswig-Holstein Question 351 

166. Peace with Austria 352 

167. The Ems Telegram 356 

168. The Imperial Title 359 

XXXV. Diplomacy of the Great War 362 

169. The Austrian Note to Serbia 362 

170. Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar .... 365 

171. The Attitude of England 368 

172. Belgian NeutraHty 369 

173. Speech of the German Chancellor 372 



Paul the Deacon (in Latin, Paulus Diaconus), the 
historian of the Lombards, himself belonged to a noble 
Lombard family. Like so many medieval writers he 
was a monk. While an inmate of the Benedictine mon- 
astery of Monte Cassino in Italy, he made the acquaint- 
ance of Charlemagne, who was attracted by his literary 
attainments. He passed several years at the court of 
the Frankish ruler and assisted in the Carolingian re- 
vival of learning. Paul's most important composition 
is the History of the Langobards, in six books. It begins 
with the year 568, when the Lombards entered Italy, 
and extends to the death of King Liutprand, in 747. 
The work forms a valuable source for the history of .the 
early Middle Ages. 

1. Alboin and Turisind 2 

The Lombards first invaded Italy under their king Alboin. As a 
young man and before attaining the throne, he had warred victoriously 
with another Germanic tribe, the Gepidae. 

When battle was joined, while both lines fought bravely 
and neither yielded to the other, it happened that in the midst 
of the struggle Alboin, the son of Audoin, and Turismod, 
the son of Turisind, encountered each other. Alboin, striking 

1 History of the Langohards by Paul the Deacon, translated by W. D. Foulke. 
Philadelphia, 1907. Department of History, University of Pennsylvania. 

2 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, i, 23-24. 

2 Stories of the Lombard Kings 

the other with his sword, hurled him headlong from his horse 
to destruction. The Gepidae, seeing that the king's son was 
killed, through whom in great part the war had been set on 
foot, at once started to flee. The Lombards sharply followed 
them up, overthrew them, and when many had been killed 
turned back to take off the spoils of the dead. 

When, after the victory had been won, the Lombards re- 
turned to their own abodes, they suggested to their king Audoin 
that Alboin, by whose valor they had won the victory in the 
fight, should become his table companion, so that he who had 
been a comrade to his father in danger should also be a comrade 
at the feast. Audoin answered them that he could by no 
means do this, lest he should break the usage of the nation. 
"You know," he said, ''that it is not the custom among us that 
the son of the king should eat with his father, unless he first 
receives his arms from the king of a foreign nation." 

When he heard these things from his father, Alboin, taking 
only forty young men with him, journeyed to Turisind, king 
of the Gepidae, with whom he had before waged war, and 
explained the reason for his visit. The king, receiving him 
kindly, invited him to his table and placed him on his right 
hand, where Turismod, his former son, had been wont to sit. 
In the meantime, while the various dishes were made ready, 
Turisind, reflecting that his son had sat there only a little while 
before, and recalling to mind the death of his child and be- 
holding his slayer present and sitting in his place, drew deep 
sighs and could not contain himself. At last his grief broke 
forth into utterance. "This place," he said, "is dear to me, 
but the person who sits in it is grievous enough to my sight." 
Then another son of the king, who was present, aroused by his 
father's speech, began to provoke the Lombards with insults, 
declaring (because they wore white bandages from their calves ^ 
down) that they were like mares with white feet up to the legs, 
and saying, "The mares that you take after have fetlocks." 
Then one of the Lombards thus answered, "Go to the field of 
Asfeld and there you can find beyond a doubt how stoutly 

Assassination of Alboin 3 

those whom you call mares succeed in kicking; there the bones 
of your brother are scattered in the midst of the meadows hke 
those of a vile beast." 

When they heard these things, the Gepidae, unable to bear 
the tumult of their passions, violently stirred in anger and 
strove to avenge the open insult. The Lombards, ready for 
the fray, all laid their hands on the hilts of their swords. The 
king, leaping forth from the table, thrust himself into their 
midst and restrained his people from anger and strife. He 
threatened to punish him who first engaged in fight, and said 
that it is a victory not pleasing to God when anyone kills his 
guest in his own house. Thus at last the quarrel having been 
allayed, they now finished the banquet with joyful spirits. And 
Turisind, taking up the arms of Turismod his son, delivered 
them to Alboin and sent him back in peace and safety to his 
father's kingdom. Alboin, having returned to his father, was 
made from that time his table companion. And when he joy- 
fully partook with his father of the royal delicacies, he related 
in order all the things which had happened to him among the 
Gepidae in the palace of Turisind. Those who were present 
were astonished and applauded the boldness of Alboin, nor 
did they less extol in their praises the most honorable behavior 
of Turisind. 

2. Assassination of Alboin ^ 

After Alboin had ruled in Italy three years and six months, 

(he was slain by the treachery of his wife. The cause of his 
murder was this: While he sat in merriment at a banquet at 
Verona longer than v/as proper, with the cup which he had 
made of the skull of his father-in-law. King Cunimund,^ he 
ordered it to be given to the queen to drink wine, and he in- 
vited her to drink merrily with her father. Lest this should 
seem impossible to anyone, I speak the truth in Christ. I 

1 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langohardorum, ii, 28-29. 

2 Cunimund, who succeeded Turisind as king of the Gepidae, had been defeated 
and killed by Alboin in 566 or 567. Cunimund's daughter, Rosemund, was the.i 
carried away captive by Alboin, who afterwards married her. 

4 Stories of the Lombard Kings 

saw King Ratchis holding this cup in his hand on a certain 
festal day to show it to his guests. Then Rosemund, when she 
heard the thing, conceived in her heart deep anguish she could 
not restrain, and straightway she burned to revenge the death 
of her father by the murder of her husband. Presently she 
formed a plan with Helmechis, who was the king's armor- 
bearer and his foster brother, to kill the king. . . . 

Rosemund, while Albion had given himself up to a noonday 
sleep, ordered that there should be a great silence in the palace. 
Then, taking away all other arms, she bound his sword tightly 
to the head of the bed so it could not be taken away or un- 
sheathed and ... let in Helmechis, the murderer. Alboin, 
suddenly aroused from sleep, perceived the evil which threat- 
ened and reached his hand quickly for his sword, which, being 
tightly tied, he could not draw, yet he seized a foot-stool and 
defended himself with it for some time. But unfortunately 
this most warlike and very brave man, being helpless against 
his enemy, was slain as if he were one of no account, and he who 
was most famous in war, through the overthrow of so many 
enemies, perished by the scheme of one little woman. . . . 

Helmechis, upon the death of Alboin, attempted to usurp 
his kingdom, but he could not do this at all, because the Lom- 
bards, grieving greatly for the king's death, strove to make away 
with him. And straightway Rosemund sent word to Longinus, 
prefect of Ravenna, that he should quickly send a ship to fetch 
them. Longinus, delighted by such a message, sent a ship in 
which Helmechis with Rosemund, his wife, embarked at night. 
They took with them the daughter of the king and all the 
treasure of the Lombards, and came swiftly to Ravenna. 

Then the prefect Longinus began to urge Rosemund to kill 
Helmechis and to join him in wedlock. As she was ready for 
every kind of wickedness, and as she desired to become mistress 
of the people of Ravenna, she gave her consent to the accom- 
pHshment of this great crime. While Helmechis was bathing 
himself, she offered him, as he came out of the bath, a cup of 
">ison, which she said was for his health. But when he felt 

Authari and Theudelinda 5 

that he had drunk the cup of death, he compelled Rosemund, 
having drawn his sword upon her, to drink what was left, and 
thus these most wicked murderers perished at one moment by 
the judgment of God Almighty. 

3. Authari and Theudelinda ^ 

Paul the Deacon tells how the Lombard king, Authari, wooed and 
won a Bavarian bride. 

King Authari sent ambassadors to Bavaria to ask for him 
in marriage the daughter of Garibald, their king. The latter 
received them kindly and promised that he would give his 
daughter, Theudelinda, to Authari. And when the ambassa- 
dors on their return announced these things to Authari, he 
desired to see his betrothed for himself. Bringing with him 
a few active men of the Lombards, and also taking along with 
him, as their chief, one who was most faithful to him, he set 
forth without delay for Bavaria. When they had been led 
into the presence of King Garibald, according to the custom of 
ambassadors, and when he who had come with Authari as 
their chief had made the usual speech after salutation, Authari, 
since he was known to none of that nation, came nearer to King 
Garibald and said, "My master. King Authari, has sent me 
specially to look upon your daughter, his betrothed, who is to 
be our mistress, so that I may be able to tell my lord more 
surely what is her appearance." 

When the king, hearing these things, had commanded his 
daughter to come, Authari gazed upon her with silent approval, 
since she was of a very beautiful figure and pleased him much 
in every way. He then said to the king, "Since we see that the 
person of your daughter is such that we may properly wish 
her to become our queen, we would like, if it please your mighti- 
ness, to take a cup of wine from her hand, as she will offer it to 
us hereafter." When the king had assented, she took the cup 
of wine and gave it first to him who appeared to be the chief. 

1 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, ill, 30. 

6 Stories of the Lombard Kings 

Then when she offered it to Authari, whom she did not know 
was her affianced bridegroom, he, after drinking and returning 
the cup, touched her hand with his finger, when no one noticed, 
and drew his right hand from his forehead along his nose and 
face. Covered with blushes, she told this to her nurse, and her 
nurse said to her, ''Unless this man was the king himself and 
thy promised bridegroom, he would not dare by any means 
to touch thee. But meanwhile, lest this become known to 
thy father, let us be silent, for in truth the man is a worthy 
person, who deserves to have a kingdom and be united with 
thee in wedlock." For Authari, indeed, was then in the bloom 
of his youth, of fine stature, covered with yellow hair, and very 
comely in appearance. 

Having received an escort from the king, they presently 
took their way to return to their own country. . . . Then Authari, 
when he had come near the boundaries of Italy and had with 
him the Bavarians who up to this time were conducting him, 
raised himself as much as he could upon the horse he was 
managing, and with all his strength drove a hatchet into a 
tree that stood near by, adding these words, "Authari is wont 
to strike such a blow." And when he had said these things, 
then the Bavarians who accompanied him understood that he 
was himself King Authari. After some time, when trouble 
had come to King Garibald on account of an invasion by the 
Franks, Theudelinda, his daughter, fled to Italy and announced 
to Authari, her promised bridegroom, that she was coming. 
And he straightway went forth to meet her with a great train 
to celebrate the nuptials in the field of Sardis, which is above 
Verona, and received her in marriage amid the rejoicing of all. . . . 

4. A Miracle ^ 

King Rothari, after he had held the sovereignty sixteen 
years and four months, departed from life and left the kingdom 
of the Lombards to his son Rodoald. After he had been buried 
near the church of St. John the Baptist, a certain man, inflamed 

1 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, iv, 47. 

A Knightly Exploit 7 

by wicked cupidity, opened his sepulcher at night and took 
away whatever he found among the ornaments of the body. 
St. John, appearing to him in a vision, frightened him dread- 
fully and said to him, "Why did you dare to touch the body 
of that man? Although he may not have been of the true' 
faith, yet he has commended himself to me. Because you have 
presumed to do this thing, you will never hereafter have ad- 
mission into my church." And so it occurred; for as often as 
he wished to enter the sanctuary of St. John, straightway his 
throat would be hit as if by a very powerful boxer, and thus 
stricken, he would suddenly fall down backwards. I speak the 
truth in Christ; he who saw with his own eyes that very thing 
done related it to me. 

5. A Knightly Exploit 

During the reign of King Grimuald, the eastern emperor, Constan- 
tine IV, made an effort to recover his Italian territories from the hands 
of the Lombards. 

After the emperor came to Naples it is said that one of his 
chief men, whose name was Saburrus, asked for twenty thou- 
sand soldiers from his sovereign, and pledged himself to fight 
against Grimuald and win the victory. And when he had 
received the troops and had come to a place whose name is 
Forinus and had set up his camp there, Grimuald wanted to 
march against him. His son, Romuald, said to him, "There is 
no need, but do you turn over to me only a part of your army. 
With God's favor I will fight with him, and when I shall have 
conquered him a greater glory, indeed, will be ascribed to your 
power." It was done, and when he had received some part of 
his father's army, he set out with his own men likewise against 

Before he began the battle with Saburrus, he ordered the 
trumpets to sound on four sides, and immediately he rushed 
daringly upon the foe. While both lines were fighting with 
great obstinacy, a Lombard, named Amalong, who had been 

1 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, v, lo, 

8 Stories of the Lombard Kings 

accustomed to carry the royal pike, taking this pike in both 
hands, struck violently with it a certain Httle Greek and lifted 
him from the saddle on which he was riding and raised him in 
the air over his head. When the army of the Greeks saw this, 
it was terrified and at once betook itself to flight. . . . Thus 
Saburrus, who had promised that he would achieve for his 
emperor a trophy of victory from the Lombards, returned to 
him with a few men only and came off with disgrace. Romuald, 
when the victory was obtained from the enemy, returned in 
triumph and brought joy to his father and safety to all, now 
that the fear of the enemy was taken away. 

6. King Liutprand ^ 

When King Liutprand had been confirmed in the royal power, 
Rothari, a blood relation of his, wished to kill him. He pre- 
pared a banquet for him in his home at Ticinum, in which house 
he hid some very strong men, fully armed, who were to kill 
the king while he was banqueting. When this had been re- 
ported to Liutprand, he ordered Rothari to be called to his 
palace and, touching him with his hand, he discovered, as had 
been told him, a cuirass under his clothing. When Rothari 
found out that he was detected, he straightway leaped back- 
wards and unsheathed his sword to strike the king, who at once 
drew forth his own sword from his scabbard. Then one of 
the royal attendants, seizing Rothari from behind, was wounded 
by him in the forehead, but others leaped upon Rothari and 
killed him. Four of his sons, who were not present, were also 
put to death. 

King Liutprand was indeed a man of great boldness. Once 
when two of his armor-bearers thought to kill him and this had 
been reported to him, he went alone with them into a very deep 
wood and, holding against them his drawn sword, he reproached 
them because they had planned to slay him, and urged them to 
do it if they could. And straightway they fell at his feet and 
confessed everything they had plotted. . . . 

1 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, vi, 38. 



Eginhard, or Einhard, a Frankish monk, lived many 
years at the court of Charlemagne as one of the group 
of scholars whom that ruler gathered about him. Charle- 
magne made Einhard his secretary and private chaplain. 
To Einhard historians are indebted for the best contem- 
porary account of the emperor. Though very brief, 
and not free from inaccuracies, the life is simply written, 
without extravagance of praise or exaggeration of Charle- 
magne's achievements. The book also calls for special 
notice as one of the few works of literary value composed 
during the early Middle Ages. 

7. Charlemagne's Conquests and Alliances 2 

Great and powerful as was the realm of the Franks, which 
Charlemagne had received from his father Pepin, he neverthe- 
less so splendidly enlarged it by his conquests that he almost 
doubled it. For previously the eastern Franks had only in- 
habited that part of Gaul which lies between the Rhine and the 
Loire, the Atlantic Ocean and the western Mediterranean, 
and that part of Germany situated between Saxony and the 
Danube, the Rhine, and the Saale. The Alamanni and Bava- 
rians also belonged to the Frankish confederation. But Charle- 
magne conquered and made tributary, first, Aquitania and 
Gascony and the whole range of the Pyrenees, as far as the river 
Ebro . . . then the whole of Italy, from Aosta to Lower Calabria, 

1 Eginhard' s Life of the Emperor Karl the Great, translated by William Glaister. 
London, 1877. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 15-16. 

lo Charlemagne 

where are the boundaries of the Greeks and Beneventans, an 
extent of more than a thousand miles in length; then Saxony, 
which is indeed no small part of Germany and is thought to 
be twice as wide as the part where the Franks dwell and equal 
to it in length; then both provinces of Pannonia and Dacia, 
on one side of the river Danube; also Istria, Liburnia, and 
Dalmatia, with the exception of the maritime towns, which for 
friendship's sake, and on account of a treaty, he allowed the 
eastern emperor to hold; lastly, all the wild and barbarous 
nations which inhabit Germany between the Rhine and the 
Vistula, the ocean and the Danube, who speak a very similar 
language but are widely different in manners and dress. . . . 

The renown of his kingdom was also much increased by the 
friendly alliances he cultivated with different kings and nations. 
Alphonso II, the Christian king of northwestern Spain, was so 
bound to him by the ties of friendship that, when he sent him 
letters or messengers, he used to command that he should be 
spoken of as Charlemagne's man. The kings of the Scots, 
too, by his munificence, were so devoted to his will that they 
ever spoke of him as their lord, and of themselves as his sub- 
missive servants. Letters are still extant from them to him, 
showing what sort of relationship existed between them. 

Harun,^ king of the Persians, who, with the exception of 
India, ruled over nearly all the East, was held by Charlemagne 
in such hearty friendship that he valued the Frankish ruler's 
esteem above that of all other kings and princes of the world. 
. . . When the officers sent by Charlemagne with offerings to the 
most sacred sepulcher and place of the resurrection of our Lord 
and Savior came to Harun and announced the desires of their 
master, he not only gave them permission to do as they wished, 
but ordered that revered and sacred spot to be considered as 
belonging to Charlemagne. When the ambassadors set out on 
their return, Harun sent with them his own envoys, who con- 
veyed to the king strange and curious gifts, with garments and 

^ Harun-al-Rashid (Aaron the Just) was the third caliph of the Abbasid dynasty. 
His capital was Bagdad. 

Charlemagne as a Builder ii 

spices and other rich products of the East, just as he had 
given to him, a few years before, the only elephant he then 

The eastern emperors, Nicephorus I, Michael I, and Leo V, 
of their own accord, also sought his friendship and alliance and 
sent to him several embassies. Since, by assuming the imperial 
title, he had laid himself open to the grave suspicion of wishing 
to deprive them of empire, he made with them the most bind- 
ing treaty possible, that there might be no occasion of offense 
between them. But the Romans and Greeks always viewed 
with distrust the power of the Franks; hence arose the Greek 
proverb, "Have a Frank for a friend but not for a neighbor." 

8. Charlemagne as a Builder ^ 

Illustrious as was Charlemagne in enlarging his kingdom and 
in conquering foreign nations, and though constantly occupied 
with such affairs, he nevertheless began in several places very 
many works for the adornment and convenience of his realm. 
Some of these he was able to finish. Chief among them may 
be mentioned the church of the Holy Mother of God, built 
at Aachen, 2 a marvel of workmanship; and the bridge over 
the Rhine at Mainz,^ five hundred paces in length, so broad is 
the river at that place. This bridge, however, was destroyed 
by fire the year before Charlemagne died. It could not be 
restored on account of his approaching death, although he in- 
tended to replace the wooden structure by a bridge of stone. 

He also began some magnificent palaces, one not far from 
Mainz, near the town of Ingelheim, and another at Nimeguen,' 
on the river Waal. ... He was especially particular in giving 
orders to the priests and fathers to see to the restoration of the 
churches under 'their care, if in any part of his kingdom he 
found them fallen into decay. 

Charlemagne also constructed a fleet for the war against the 

1 Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 17. 

2 Or Aix-la-Chapelle. 

3 Or Mayence. 

1 2 Charlemagne 

Northmen. For this purpose ships were built on the rivers of 
Gaul and Germany which flow into the North Sea. As the 
Northmen were making a practice of ravaging the coasts of 
Gaul and Germany, he posted towers and outlooks in all the 
harbors, and at the mouths of those rivers which ships could 
navigate. By these defenses he prevented any enemy from 
being able to pass into the interior. He did the same thing 
in the south, on the coast of the provinces of Narbonne and Sep- 
timania, and along all the coast of Italy as far as Rome, for 
in those parts the Moors had lately taken to piracy. Thus 
Italy suffered no great damage from the Moors, nor Gaul or 
Germany from the Northmen, during the reign of Charle- 
magne, except that Civita Vecchia, a city of Etruria, was be- 
trayed to the Moors, who took it and destroyed it, and in Frisia 
some islands off the German coast were plundered by the North- 

9. Domestic Life of Charlemagne ^ 

Such does it appear was the work of Charlemagne in defend- 
ing, enlarging, and adorning his dominions; and one must be 
permitted to admire his mental gifts and his great firmness of 
purpose in all circumstances, whether of prosperity or adversity. 

I will now begin to speak of other matters relating to his 
private and domestic life. On the death of his father he bore 
all the jealousy and illwill of his brother, in the division of the 
kingdom ,2 with so much patience and forbearance that he as- 
tonished everybody, for he would not allow himself even to 
be provoked to anger by him. 

It was by the desire of his mother that he took for his wife 
a daughter of Desiderius, king of the Lombards; but at the 
end of a year he divorced her, for what reason is uncertain. 
He then married Hildegard, a Swabian lady of noble birth, 
by whom he had three sons and three daughters. . . . His mother 

1 Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 18-19. 

2 King Pepin, shortly before his death in 768, divided the Frankish realm 
between his two sons, Charles and Carloman. The latter died in 771, and 
Charles then seized his brother's portion of the kingdom. 

Charlemagne's Personality and Habits 13 

lived with him to old age, in great honor, being looked up to 
by her son with the utmost respect, so that no difference ever 
arose between them, except with regard to the divorce of the 
daughter of King Desiderius, whom she had persuaded him to 
marry. She did not die until after the death of Hildegard, 
having lived to see three grandsons and as many granddaughters 
in the house of her son. . . . He had one sister, Gisla, who was 
dedicated to a rehgious life from her earliest years. Like his 
mother, she was regarded by Charlemagne with the greatest 
affection. She died a few years before him, and was buried 
in the convent to which she had retired. 

Charlemagne thought so much about the education of his 
children that he caused both sons and daughters to be early 
instructed in those liberal studies which attracted his own 
attention. As soon as his sons were old enough, he had them 
ride on horseback, as was the Frankish custom, and practice 
themselves in arms and hunting. He bade his daughters learn 
wool-spinning and the use of the distaff and spindle, and em- 
ploy themselves industriously in every virtuous occupation, 
that they might not be enervated by idleness. 

He was so careful in the bringing up of his sons and daughters 
that when at home he never dined without them, and they al- 
ways accompanied him on his journeys, his sons riding by his 
side and his daughters following close behind, attended by a 
train of servants appointed for that purpose. His daughters 
were very fair, and he loved them passionately. Strange to 
say, he would never consent to give them in marriage, either 
to any of his own nation or to foreigners; but he kept them all 
at home and near his person until his death, for he used to 
say that he could not deprive himself of their society. 

10. Charlemagne's Personality and Habits ^ 

The figure of Charlemagne was large and robust. He was 
of commanding stature, though not exceeding good proportions, 

1 Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 22-25. 

14 Charlemagne 

for he measured seven times the length of his foot. The top 
of his head was round, his eyes large and animated, his nose 
somewhat long, his hair white, and his face bright and pleasant; 
so that, whether standing or sitting, he appeared dignified and 
impressive. Although his neck was thick and rather short, 
and his waist too prominent, still the fair proportions of his 
limbs concealed these defects. His walk was firm, and the 
whole carriage of his body was manly. His voice was clear, but 
not so strong as his frame would have led one to expect. His 
health was good until the last four years of his life, when he 
was attacked with frequent fevers, and latterly walked lame 
on one foot. Even in illness he leaned more on his own judg- 
ment than on the advice of physicians, whom he greatly dis- 
liked, because they used to recommend him to leave off roast 
meat, to which he was accustomed, and eat boiled meat instead. 

He took regular exercise in riding and hunting. This was 
a national habit, since scarcely any people can be found to 
equal the Franks in these pursuits. He also took delight in 
the vapor of hot springs and constantly practiced swimming, 
in which he was very skillful, no one being able to outstrip him. 
It was on account of the warm baths that he built the palace 
at Aachen, living there constantly during the last years of his 
life and until his death. He not only invited his sons to bathe 
with him, but also his chief men and friends, and occasionally 
even a crowd of his attendants and guards, so that at times one 
hundred men or more would be bathing together. 

He wore the dress of his native country, that is, the Frankish; 
on his body a linen shirt and linen drawers; then a tunic with 
a silver border, and stockings. He bound his legs with garters 
and wore shoes on his feet. In the winter he protected his 
shoulders and chest with a vest made of the skins of otters 
and ermine. He wore a blue cloak, and was always girt with 
his sword, the hilt and belt being of gold and silver. Some- 
times he wore a jeweled sword, but only on great festivals or 
when receiving foreign ambassadors. He thoroughly dis- 
liked the dress of foreigners, however fine, and never put it 

Charlemagne's Personality and Habits 15 

on except at Rome, once on the request of Pope Hadrian I, 
and again a second time, to please his successor, Pope Leo III. 
He then wore a long tunic, chlamys, and shoes made after the 
Roman fashion. On festivals he used to walk in processions 
clad in a garment woven with gold, with shoes studded with 
jewels, and a cloak fastened with a golden clasp, and wearing 
a crown of gold set with precious stones. At other times his 
dress differed little from that of a private person. 

In his eating and drinking he was temperate; more partic- 
ularly so in his drinking, since he had the greatest abhorrence 
of drunkenness in anybody, but more especially in himself and 
his companions. He was unable to abstain from food for any 
length of time, and often complained that fasting was injurious 
to him. He very rarely feasted, only on great occasions, when 
there were very large gatherings. The daily service of his 
table was furnished with only four dishes, in addition to the 
roast meat, which the hunters used to bring in on spits, and 
of which he partook more freely than of any other food. 

While he was dining he hstened to music or reading. History 
and the deeds of men of old used to be read. He derived much 
pleasure from the works of St. Augustine,^ especially from his 
book called the City of God. He was very temperate in the 
use of wine and other drinks, rarely taking at meals more than 
two or three draughts. ... He slept at night so lightly that he 
would break his rest four or five times, not merely awakening, 
but even getting up. 

While he was dressing and binding on his sandals, he would 
receive his friends. If the mayor of the palace announced 
that there was any matter which could only be settled by his 
decree, the suitors were immediately ordered into his presence 
and, as if sitting in court, he heard the case and gave judg- 
ment. This was not the only business which used to be 
arranged at such a time, for orders were then given for what- 
ever had to be done on that day by any officer or servant. 

1 St. Augustine (354-430), bishop of Hippo in North Africa, was one of the 
great "fathers" of the Christian Church. 

1 6 Charlemagne 

He was ready and fluent in speaking, and able to express 
himself with great clearness. He did not confine himself to his 
native tongue, but took pains to learn foreign languages, ac- 
quiring such knowledge of Latin that he used to repeat his 
prayers in that language as well as in his own. Greek he could 
better understand than speak. In conversation he was so 
voluble that he almost gave one the impression of a chatterer. 
He was an ardent admirer of the liberal arts, and greatly revered 
their professors, whom he promoted to high honors. In order 
to learn grammar, he attended the lectures of the aged Peter 
of Pisa, a deacon; and for other instruction he chose as his 
preceptor Alcuin, also a deacon. Alcuin, a Saxon by race, 
was the most learned man of the day. With him Charlemagne 
spent much time in learning rhetoric and logic, and more es- 
pecially astronomy. He learned the art of computation, and 
with deep thought and skill very carefully calculated the courses 
of the planets. Charlemagne also tried to write, and used to 
keep his tablets and writing-book under the pillow of his couch, 
that when he had leisure he might practice his hand in forming 
letters; but he made little progress in a task too long deferred 
and begun too late in life. 

11. Charlemagne's Regard for the Church ^ 

The Christian rehgion, in which he had been brought up 
from infancy, was held by Charlemagne as most sacred, and he 
worshiped in it with the greatest piety. For this reason he 
built at Aachen a most beautiful church, which he enriched 
with gold, silver, and candlesticks, and also with lattices and 
doors of solid brass. When columns and marbles for the build- 
ing could not be obtained elsewhere, he had them brought from 
Rome and Ravenna. 

As long as his health permitted, he was most regular in attend- 
ing divine service at matins and evensong, and also during 
the night and at the time of the mass; and he took special 

^ Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 26-28. 

Charlemagne's Regard for the Church 17 

care that all church services should be performed in the most 
fitting manner possible, frequently cautioning the sacristans 
not to allow anything improper or unseemly to be brought 
into, or left in, the building. 

He provided such an abundance of sacred vessels of gold 
and silver, and so large a supply of priestly vestments, that 
when service was celebrated it was not necessary even for the 
doorkeepers, who are the lowest order of ecclesiastics, to per- 
form their duties in private dress. He carefully revised the 
order of reading and singing, being well skilled in both, though 
he did not read in public or sing, except in a low voice and 
only in the chorus. 

He was most devoted in providing for the poor and in chari- 
table gifts. In this matter he took thought not only for those 
of his own country and kingdom, but also for those whom he 
heard were living in poverty beyond the seas, in Africa, Egypt, 
and Syria, at Carthage, Alexandria, and Jerusalem. To such 
persons he used to send money in compassion for their wants. 
It was on this account, especially, that he courted the friend- 
ship of foreign princes, that he might be able to become a 
solace and comfort to those Christians who were living under 
their rule. 

He held the church of tJie blessed Peter the Apostle, at Rome, 
in far higher regard than any other place of sanctity and venera- 
tion, and he enriched its treasury with a great quantity of gold, 
silver, and precious stones. 

To the pope he made many rich presents; and nothing lay 
nearer his heart during his whole reign than that the city of 
Rome should attain to its ancient importance by his zeal and 
patronage, and that the church of St. Peter should not only 
be in safe keeping and protection, but should also by his wealth 
be ennobled and enriched beyond all other churches. Al- 
though he thought so much of this, it was only four times, 
during the forty-seven years of his reign, that he had leisure 
to go to Rome for prayer and supplication. 

The last visit he paid to Rome was not only for the above 

1 8 Charlemagne 

reasons, but also because the Romans had driven Pope Leo 
III to ask his assistance — for they had grievously ill-treated 
him; indeed, his eyes had been plucked out and his tongue 
cut off.i 

• Charlemagne, therefore, went to Rome, and stayed in the 
city the whole winter in order to reform and quiet the Church, 
which was in a most disturbed state. It was at this time that 
he received the title of Emperor and Augustus, to which at 
first he was so averse that he remarked that, had he known the 
intention of the pope, he would not have entered St. Peter's 
on that day, great festival though it was. 

He bore very quietly the displeasure of the Roman emperors 
at Constantinople, who were exceedingly indignant at his 
assumption of the imperial title, and overcame their sullen- 
ness by his great magnanimity, sending them frequent em- 
bassies and styling them his brothers in his letter to them. 

12. Last Days of Charlemagne ^ 

After he had taken the imperial title, Charlemagne turned 
his attention to the laws of his people, which seemed greatly 
to need improvement, since the Franks have two laws,^ differ- 
ing much in many places. Charlemagne's intention was to 
add what was wanting in each, to reconcile the differences, and 
to correct what was vicious or wrongly expressed. In the end, 
however, he did nothing more than add a few capitularies, and 
those unfinished. 

He caused the unwritten laws of all the nations under his 
rule to be tabulated and reduced to writing. He wrote out 
and committed to memory the rude and very ancient songs 
which told of the exploits and wars of the kings of old. He 
began a gramniar of the language of his country. He also 
gave names in the national tongue to the months of the year, 

1 Pope Leo's injuries do not seem to have been of so deep or permanent a char- 
acter as the text describes. 

2 Einhard, Vita Caroli Magni, 29-32. 

3 That is, the laws of the SaUan Franks and the laws of the Ripuarian Franks. 

Last Days of Charlemagne 19 

for up to this time the Franks had distinguished them partly 
by Latin and partly by barbarian names. He likewise gave the 
proper names to the twelve winds, for previously names were 
known for hardly four. . . . 

Toward the close of his life, when bowed down by disease 
and old age, he summoned to him his son Louis, the king of 
Aquitania, who alone survived of the sons of Hildegard. In 
a solemn assembly of the chief men of the whole realm of the 
Franks, and with their unanimous consent, he appointed Louis his 
partner in the whole kingdom and heir of the imperial title. 
He then placed the royal crown on his head and bade him be 
saluted as Emperor and Augustus. . . . 

Charlemagne then sent his son into Aquitania and, although 
weakened by age, went on his usual hunting expedition in the 
neighborhood of the palace at Aachen. In this pursuit he 
passed the remainder of the autumn and returned to Aachen 
early in November. During the winter, in the month of Janu- 
ary, he was confined to his bed by a sharp attack of fever. 
He at once prescribed for himself abstinence from food, which 
was his usual treatment of fever, thinking that by this means 
he could throw off the disease, or at least control it; but pleurisy 
supervened. He still continued to starve himself, only keep- 
ing himself up by occasionally taking liquids ; and on the seventh 
day after he had been confined to his bed he received the Holy 
Communion and died soon after, at nine o'clock, on the 28th 
of January, in the seventy-third year of his age and forty- 
seventh year of his reign. 

His body was reverently washed and tended, and then car- 
ried into the church and buried, to the great grief of all his 
people. There was some doubt at first where was the most 
proper place for his burial, for during his life he had given no 
orders on this matter. At last it was agreed by all that he 
could be buried in no more fitting place than in the church 
which he had built at his own cost at Aachen, out of love to 
God and our Lord Christ, and to the honor of the ever blessed 
Virgin. So he was buried there on the same day that he died. 

20 Charlemagne 

Above his tomb was erected a gilded monument, with his 
effigy and title upon it.^ . . . 

Warnings of the approaching death of Charlemagne were 
very numerous, and were noticed by the emperor himself, as 
well as by others. For three years before his death there were 
frequent eclipses of the sun and moon, and black spots were 
noticed on the sun during seven successive days. The portico, 
which had been built with great labor between the church and 
palace, suddenly fell down to the very foundation, on the day 
of the Ascension of our Lord. The wooden bridge over the 
Rhine at Mainz, on which an immense amount of toil and 
trouble had been expended during ten years, so that it seemed 
a thoroughly durable and permanent structure, was accident- 
ally burnt down in three hours. The destruction was so com- 
plete that there did not remain above water mark sufficient 
wood for the making of a lance shaft. Again, while Charle- 
magne was in Saxony, one day when the march had already 
begun, Charlemagne saw fall suddenly from heaven a blazing 
torch, which passed through the clear sky from right to left. 
While all were wondering what this might portend, the horse 
on which the emperor was riding fell down suddenly on its 
head, and he was thrown to the ground with such violence 
that the clasp of his cloak was broken and his sword belt burst. 
He was ungirt by his attendants, who hastened to his assist- 
ance, and with some difficulty was lifted up again. A javelin, 
which he happened to be holding at the time, was thrown from 
his grasp a distance of more than twenty feet. 

There occurred, too, frequent shakings of the palace at 
Aachen, and constant crackings of the ceilings of the houses 
in which he dwelt. The church in which he was afterwards 
buried was struck by lightning, and the golden apple which 
adorned the summit of the roof was displaced and thrown 

1 In the year looo Charlemagne's tomb was opened by the emperor Otto III. 
Legend declares that Otto found the body upright upon a throne, with a golden 
crown on the head and a golden scepter still clasped in the lifeless hands. About 
two hundred years later Charlemagne's remains were transferred to a splendid 
shrine, where they may still be seen. 

Last Days of Charlemagne 21 

upon the adjoining house of the priest. There was in the same 
church, on the ring of the cornice, which ran around the interior 
of the building between the upper and lower arches, an inscrip- 
tion in red letters, which related who was the founder of the 
church; the last line ended with the words "Carolus Princeps." 
It was noticed by some people that in the year in which he 
died, and a few months before his death, the letters which 
formed the word "Princeps" were so faded as scarcely to appear 
at all. The emperor either pretended not to notice all these 
warnings from on high, or he despised them as if they in no 
way related to himself. 


With the exception of the Bible, there is probably 
no book which has more directly influenced the course 
of European history than the Rule of St. Benedict. Ac- 
cording to the provisions of that Rule were trained those 
monks, who, like Augustine in England and Boniface 
in Germany, brought the Christian religion and the bless- 
ings of civilization to the heathen peoples of western 
Europe. No one can read the Rule through without 
being impressed with the practical wisdom of its author. 
He sought by his regulations to preserve the spiritual 
benefits of the monastic life, without allowing it to run 
to extremes of asceticism. Hence his monks were to 
subject themselves to strict discipline under the super- 
vision of an abbot; they were to have proper clothing, 
sufficient food, and ample sleep; and they were to engage, 
not only in religious exercises, but also in useful manual 
labor. All this presented a marked contrast to the kind 
of monastic observance which prevailed in the East and, 
before St. Benedict, in Italy and Gaul. The Benedictine 
Rule, because it met so well the requirements of the 
monastic life, came gradually to be followed by all the 
monasteries of western Christendom. 

1 The Rule of St. Benedict, translated by F. A. Gasquet. London, igog. Chatto 
and Windus. 

The Abbot and His Duties 23 

13. The Abbot and His Duties ^ 

An abbot to be fit to rule a monastery should ever remember 
what he is called, and in his acts illustrate his high position. 
For in a monastery he is considered to take the place of Christ, 
since he is called by His name. As the apostle says, "Ye have 
received the spirit of the adoption of sons, whereby we cry, 
'Abba, Father.' "2 Therefore the abbot should neither teach, 
ordain, nor require anything against the command of our Lord 
(God forbid!), but in the minds of his disciples let his orders 
and teaching be mingled with the leaven of divine justice. . . . 

When anyone shall receive the name of abbot, he ought to 
rule his disciples with a twofold teaching: that is, he should 
first show them in acts rather than words all that is good and 
holy. To such as are of understanding, indeed, he may ex- 
pound the Lord's behests by words; but to the hard-hearted 
and to the simple-minded he must manifest the divine pre- 
cepts in his life. . . . 

Let the abbot make no distinction of persons in the mon- 
astery. Let not one be loved more than another, except those 
who are found to excel in obedience or good works. Let not 
the free-born be put before the serf-born in religion, unless 
there is some other reasonable cause for it. . . . For one thing 
only are we preferred by Him, if we are found better than others 
in good works and more humble. Let the abbot, therefore, 
have equal love for all, and let all, according to their deserts, 
be under the same discipline. 

The abbot in his teaching should always observe that apos- 
tolic rule which says, "Reprove, entreat, rebuke."^ That is 
to say, as occasions require, he ought to mingle encouragement 
with reproofs. Let him manifest the sternness of a master 
and the loving affection of a father. He must reprove the 
undisciplined and restless severely, but he should exhort 
such as are obedient, quiet, and patient, for their better profit. 

1 S. Benedicti regula, 2-3. 2 Romans, viii, 15. 

3 2 Timothy, iv, 2. 

24 The Benedictine Rule 

We charge him, however, to reprove and punish the stubborn 
and negHgent. Let him not shut his eyes to the sins of offenders; 
but, as soon as these begin to show themselves and to grow, he 
must use every means to root them up utterly. ... To the more 
virtuous and apprehensive, indeed, he may for the first or second 
time use words of warning; but in dealing with the stubborn, 
the hard-hearted, the proud, and the disobedient, even at the 
very beginning of their sin, let him chastise them with stripes 
and with bodily punishment, knowing that it is written, ^'The 
fool is not corrected with words." ^ And again, "Strike thy 
son with a rod and thou shalt deliver his soul from death." ^ . . . 
Whenever any weighty matters have to be transacted in 
the monastery, let the abbot call together all the community 
and himself propose the matter for discussion. After hearing 
the advice of the brethren, let him consider it in his own mind 
and then do what he shall judge most expedient. We ordain 
that all must be called to council, because the Lord often re- 
veals to a younger member what is best. And let the brethren 
give their advice with all humble subjection, and presume not 
stiffly to defend their own opinion. Let them rather leave 
the matter to the abbot's discretion, so that all submit to what 
he shall deem best. As it is fitting for disciples to obey their 
master, so it behooves the master to dispose of all things with 
forethought and justice. . . . 

14. The Monastic Vows ^ 

The first degree of humility is prompt obedience. This is 
required of all who, whether by reason of the holy servitude 
to which they are pledged, or through fear of hell, or to attain 
to the glory of eternal life, hold nothing more dear than Christ. 
Such disciples delay not in doing what is ordered by their supe- 
rior, just as if the command had come from God. . . . 

Let us do as the prophet says, "I have said, I will keep 
my ways, that I offend not with my tongue. I have been 

1 Proverbs, xxiii, g. 2 Ibid., xxiii, 13. 

^ 5. Benedicti regula, 5-7. 

The Monastic Vows 25 

watchful over my mouth; I held my peace and humbled my- 
self and was silent from speaking even good things." ^ Here 
the prophet shows that, for the sake of silence, we are at times 
to abstain even from good talk. If this is so, how much more 
needful is it that we refrain from evil words, on account of the 
penalty of the sin! Because of the importance of silence, 
therefore, let leave to speak be seldom given, even to perfect 
disciples, although their talk is of good and holy matters and 
tending to edification. . . . 

The first step of humility is reached when a man, with the 
fear of God always before his eyes ... is ever mindful of all 
God's commandments. He remembers, moreover, that those 
who condemn God fall into hell for their sins, and that life 
eternal awaits those who fear Him. . . . 

The second step of humility is reached when a man takes 
no heed to satisfy his own desires, but copies in his life what 
our Lord said, 'T came not to do My own will, but the will of 
Him who sent Me." ^ Scripture likewise proclaims that 
self-will engenders punishment, and necessity purchases a 
crown. , 

The third step of humility is reached when a man, for the 
love of God, submits himself with all obedience to a superior, 
imitating our Lord, of whom the apostle says, "He was made 
obedient even unto death." ^ 

The fourth step of humility is reached when anyone in the 
exercise of his obedience patiently and with a quiet mind bears 
all that is inflicted on him, even things contrary to nature 
and at times unjust, and in suffering all these he neither 
wearies nor abandons the work, since the Scripture says, ''He 
only that perseveres to the end shall be saved ";^ also, "Let 
thy heart be comforted and expect the Lord." ^ . . . 

The fifth step of humility is reached when a monk manifests 
to his abbot, by humble confession, all the evil thoughts of 
his heart and his secret faults. The Scripture urges us to do 

1 Psalms, xxxix, 1-2. 3 Philippians, ii, 8. 

2 John, vi, 38. * Matthew, xxiv, 13. ^ Psalms, xxvii, 14. 

26 The Benedictine Rule 

this where it says, "Commit thy way to the Lord and hope in 
Him."i It also says, "Confess to the Lord, because He is 
good, because His mercy endures forever. "^ . . . 

The sixth step of humility is reached when a monk is content 
with all that is mean and vile; and in regard to everything 
required of him accounts himself a poor and worthless work- 
man, saying with the prophet, "I have been brought to noth- 
ing, and knew it not. I have become as a beast before Thee, 
and I am always with Thee." ^ 

The seventh step of humiUty is reached when a man not 
only confesses with his tongue that he is most lowly and inferior 
to others, but in his inmost heart believes so. . . . 

The eighth step of humility is reached when a monk does 
nothing but what the common rule of the monastery, or the 
example of his seniors, enforces. 

The ninth step of humility is reached when a monk restrains 
his tongue from talking, and, practicing silence, speaks not till 
a question is asked him, since Scripture says, "In many words 
thou shalt not avoid sin,"^ and "A talkative man shall not 
be directed upon the earth." ^ • 

The tenth step of humility is attained when one is not 
easily and quickly moved to laughter, for it is written, "The 
fool lifts his voice in laughter." ^ 

The eleventh step of humility is reached when a monk, 
in speaking, does so quietly and without laughterj humbly, 
gravely, in a few words, and not with a loud voice, for it is 
written, "A wise man is known by a few words." ^ 

The twelfth step of humility is reached when a monk not 
only has humility in his heart, but also shows it to all who 
behold him. Thus, whether he is in the oratory at prayer, in 
the monastery, in the garden, on a journey, in the fields, or 
wheresoever he is, sitting, standing or walking, always let him, 
with head bent and eyes fixed on the ground, bethink himself 

1 Psalms, xxxvii, 5. 2 ibid., cvi, i. ^ Ibid., kxiii, 22-23. 

* Proverbs, x, 19. ^ Psalms, cxl, 11. ^ Ecclesiastes, x, 14. 

^ Ibid., xxi, 23, 

Conduct of the Monastery 27 

of his sins and imagine that he is arraigned before the dread 
judgment of God. . . . 

When all these steps of humiHty have been mounted, the 
monk will presently attain to that love of God which is perfect 
and casteth out fear. By means of this love everything which 
before he had observed not without fear, he shall now begin 
to do by habit, without any trouble and, as it were, naturally. 
He acts now, not through fear of hell, but for the love of Christ, 
out of a good habit and a delight in virtue. . . . 

15. Conduct of the Monastery ^ 

All shall sleep in separate beds, and each shall receive, ac- 
cording to the appointment of the abbot, bedclothes fitted 
to the condition of his life. If it is possible, let them all sleep 
in a common dormitory, but if their great number will not 
allow this, they may sleep in tens or twenties, with seniors 
to have charge of them. Let a candle be constantly burning 
in the room until morning, and let the monks sleep clothed 
and girt with girdles or cords; but they are not to have knives 
by their sides in their beds, lest perchance they injure them- 
selves while sleeping. In this way the monks shall always 
be ready to rise quickly when the signal is given and hasten 
each one to come before his brother to the night office, and yet 
with all gravity and modesty. 

The younger brethren are not to have their beds next to 
each other, but among those of the elders. When they rise 
for the night office, let them gently encourage one another, 
because of the excuses made by those who are drowsy .^ 

If any brother is found to be stubborn, disobedient, proud, 
murmuring, or in any way acting contrary to the Holy Rule, 
or condemning the orders of his seniors, let him, according to 
the precept of our Lord, be secretly admonished by those 
seniors, once or twice. If he will not amend, let him be publicly 

1 5. Benediai regula, 22-23, 29, 32-33, 38-39. 53-55- 

2 The time of rising for divine service at the night office varied from i .30 a.m. 
to 3.00 A.M., according to the season of the year. 

28 The Benedictine Rule 

reproved before all. But if even then he does not correct his 
faults, let him, if he understands the nature of the punishment, 
be subject to excommunication. But if he remains obstinate, 
he is to undergo corporal punishment. 

If the brother, who through his ov/n bad conduct leaves the 
monastery or is expelled from it, shall desire to return, he must 
first promise full amendment of the fault for which he went 
away. He may then be received back to the lowest place, 
that by this his humility may be tried. If he shall again leave, 
he may be received back till the third time, but he must know 
that after this all possibility of returning will be denied to 

Let the abbot appoint brethren, of whose life and moral 
conduct he is sure, to keep the iron tools, the clothes, and 
other property of the monastery. . . . The abbot shall hold a 
list of these things in order that, as the brethren succeed each 
other in their appointed work, he may know what he gives and 
what he receives back. If anyone shall treat the property 
of the monastery in a slovenly or careless way, let him be 
corrected; if he does not amend, let him be subjected to regular 

Above all others, let this vice be extirpated in the monastery. 
No one, without leave of the abbot, shall presume to give, or 
receive, or keep as his own anything whatever: neither book, 
nor tablets, nor pen: nothing at all. For monks are men who 
can claim no dominion even over their own bodies or wills. 
All that is necessary, however, they may hope from the abbot 
of the monastery; but they must keep nothing which the 
abbot has not given or allowed. All things are to be common 
to all. . . . 

There ought always to be reading while the brethren eat 
at table. Yet no one shall presume to read there from any 
book taken up at haphazard; but whoever is appointed to read 
for the whole week is to enter on his ofhce on Sunday. . . . The 
greatest silence shall be kept, so that no whispering, nor noise, 
save the voice of the reader, be heard there. . . . 

The Monastic Vows 29 

We believe that it is enough to satisfy just requirements if, 
in the daily meals, at both the sixth and ninth hours, there are 
at all seasons of the year two cooked dishes, so that he who 
cannot eat of the one may make his meal of the other. Hence 
two dishes of cooked food must suffice for all the brethren, 
and if there be any fruit or fresh vegetables these may be 
added to the meal as a third dish. Let a pound's weight of 
bread suffice for each day, that is, for both dinner and 
supper. . . . 

If, however, the community has been occupied in any great 
labor, the abbot may increase the allowance, as long as every 
care is taken to guard against excess and no monks are in- 
capacitated by overeating. For nothing is more contrary to 
the Christian spirit than gluttony. . . . 

Let all guests who come be received as Christ would be, 
because He will say, "I was a stranger, and ye took Me in."^ 
And let due honor be shown to all, especially to those who are 
of the household of the Faith, and to pilgrims. As soon, there- 
fore, as a guest is announced, let him be met by the prior or 
the brethren, with all marks of charity. And let them first 
pray together, so that they may associate in peace. . . . 

It is by no means lawful, without the abbot's permission, 
for any monk to receive or give letters, presents, and gifts 
of any kind to anyone, not even to one of the brethren. If 
anything is sent to a monk from his parents^ he shall not ven- 
ture to receive it unless the abbot is first informed. . . . 

A mattress, blanket, coverlet, and pillow are to suffice for 
bedding. The beds shall be frequently searched by the abbot 
to guard against the vice of hoarding. And if anyone is found 
in possession of something not allowed by the abbot, let him be 
subjected to the severest punishment. To uproot this vice 
of appropriation, let all that is necessary be furnished by the 
abbot, that is, cowl, tunic, shoes, stockings, girdle, knife, pen, 
needle, handkerchief, and tablets. By this means every pre- 
text of necessity will be taken away. . . . 

I Matthew, xxv, 35. 

30 The Benedictine Rule 

16. Occupations of the Monks ^ 

Idleness is an enemy of the soul. Because this is so, the 
brethren ought to be occupied at specified times in manual 
labor, and at other fixed hours in holy reading. We think, 
therefore, that both these may be arranged as follows: from 
Easter to the first of October,^ on coming out from prime,^ 
let the brethren labor till about the fourth hour.'' From the 
fourth till about the sixth hour,^ let them employ themselves 
in reading. On rising from table after the sixth hour, let them 
rest on their beds in strict silence; but if a monk shall wish to 
read, let him do so in such a way as not to disturb anyone else. 

Let none ^ be said somewhat before the time, about the middle 
of the eighth hour, and after this all shall work at what they 
have to do till evening. If, however, the nature of the place 
or poverty requires them to labor at gathering in the harvest, 
let them not grieve at that, for then are they truly monks 
when they live by the labor of their hands, as our Fathers and 
the Apostles did. Let everything, however, be done with 
moderation, for the sake of the faint-hearted. . . . 

On Sunday, also, all except those who are assigned to various 
offices shall have time for reading. If, however, anyone is 
so negligent and slothful as to be unwilling or unable to read or 
meditate, he must have some work given him, so as not to be 
idle. For weak brethren, or those of delicate constitutions, 
some work or craft shall be found to keep them from idleness, 
and yet not such as to crush them by the heavy labor or to drive 
them away. The weakness of such brethren must be taken 
into consideration by the abbot. 

Let such craftsmen as are in the monastery ply their trade 

1 S. Benedicti regula, 48, 57. 

2 A somewhat different program of daily occupations was to be followed by the 
monks from the first of October to Lent and during the Lenten season. 

3 A church service at the first canonical hour. 

* The fourth hour would be in summer about 9 A.M. 

8 The sixth hour would be about midday. 

6 A church service in the middle of the afternoon. 

Occupations of the Monks 31 

in all lowliness of mind, if the abbot allows it. But if anyone 
is puffed up by his skill in his craft, and thinks that the monas- 
tery is indebted to him for it, he shall be shifted from his handi- 
craft, and shall not attempt it again till such time as, having 
learnt a low opinion of himself, the abbot shall bid him resume. 
If any of the products of their labors are sold, let those who 
have the handling of the affair see to it that they do not dare 
to practice any fraud therein. . . . 



B^DA, commonly called ''the Venerable Bede" (672- 
735), was a Benedictine monk of the monastery of Jarrow 
on the Tyne. In a short account of himself he says, " I 
have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, 
giving all my energy to meditation on the Scriptures; 
and, amid the observance of the monastic rule and the 
daily ministry of singing in the church, it has ever been 
my delight to learn or teach or write." Bede's tranquil 
career and devotion to study enabled him to produce 
many books, of which the best known is his Ecclesiastical 
History of the English Nation. It is the first truly his- 
torical work composed by an Englishman. Although 
primarily a church history, the book also touches on secu- 
lar affairs and forms, indeed, one of the chief sources of 
our knowledge of the seventh and early eighth centuries. 

17. Pope Gregory's Interest in the Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons 2 

In the year of our Lord 582, Maurice,^ the fifty-fourth 
emperor from Augustus, ascended the throne and reigned 
twenty-one years. In the tenth year of his reign, Gregory ^ was 
promoted to the apostolical see of Rome, and presided over 
it thirteen years, six months, and ten days. Gregory, being 

1 The Complete Works of the Venerable Bede, translated by J. A. Giles. 12 
vols, in 6. London, 1 843-1 844. Whittaker and Company. 

2 Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, i, 23. 

3 Maurice (Mauricius), Roman emperor in the East. 
* Gregory I, the Great. 

Landing of Augustine in Britain 33 

moved by divine inspiration . . . sent the servant of God, 
Augustine, and with him several other monks, who feared the 
Lord, to preach the word of God to the English nation. But 
after they had undertaken the work, they were seized with 
sudden fear and began to think of returning home, rather than 
proceed to a barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to 
whose very language they were strangers. ... In short, they 
sent back Augustine, who was to be consecrated bishop in 
case they were received by the English, that he might persuade 
the holy Gregory to relieve them from undertaking so danger- 
ous, toilsome, and uncertain a journey. The pope, in reply, 
sent them a hortatory epistle, persuading them to proceed in 
their enterprise, and to rely on the assistance of the Almighty. 
The letter ran as follows: 

" Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants 
of our Lord. Forasmuch as it would have been better not to 
have begun a good work, than to think of desisting from that 
which has been begun, it behooves you, my beloved sons, to 
fulfill the good work which you have undertaken. Let not, 
therefore, the toil of the journey nor the tongues of evil-speak- 
ing men deter you; but with all possible earnestness and zeal 
perform that which, by God's direction, you have undertaken; 
being assured that much labor is followed by an eternal reward. 
When Augustine, your chief, returns, whom we also consti- 
tute your abbot, humbly obey him in all things; knowing that 
whatsoever you shall do by his direction will be available to 
your souls. Almighty God protect you with his grace and 
grant that I may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of 
your mission. Though I cannot labor with you, I shall par- 
take in the joy of the reward, because I am willing to labor. 
God keep you in safety, my most beloved sons." 

18. Landing of Augustine in Britain ^ 

Augustine, thus strengthened by the confirmation of the 
blessed Gregory, returned to the work of the word of God, 

1 Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, i, 25-26. 

34 Reestablishment of Christianity in Britain 

with the servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. The 
powerful Ethelbert was at that time king of Kent; he had 
extended his dominions as far as the river Humber, by which 
the South Saxons are divided from those of the North. On 
the east of Kent is the large Isle of Thanet. ... In this island 
landed the servant of our Lord, Augustine, and his companions, 
numbering nearly forty men. By order of the blessed Gregory, 
they had taken interpreters of the nation of the Franks. They 
now sent word to Ethelbert that they were come from Rome, 
and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured 
to all that took advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven. 
The Kentish king, having heard this message, ordered them 
to stay in the island where they had landed. He gave further 
orders that they should be furnished with all necessities, till 
he should consider what to do with them. For he had before 
heard of the Christian religion, having a Christian wife of the 
royal family of the Franks, called Bertha, whom he had re- 
ceived from her parents upon condition that she should be 
permitted to practice her religion with Bishop Luidhard, who 
was sent with her to preserve her faith. 

Some days later, the king came into the island and, sitting 
in the open air, ordered Augustine and his companions to be 
brought into his presence. He had taken precaution that they 
should not come to him in any house, lest, according to an 
ancient superstition, if they practiced any magical arts, they 
might impose upon him and so get the better of him. But 
they came furnished with divine, not with magic virtue, bear- 
ing a silver cross for their banner, and the image of our Lord 
and Savior painted on a board. After singing the litany, 
they offered up their prayers to the Lord for the eternal sal- 
vation both of themselves and of those to whom they had come. 

When Augustine had sat down, according to the king's com- 
mands, and had preached to him and his attendants there 
the word of life, the king answered, "Your words and promises 
are very fair, but as they are new to us and of uncertain mean- 
ing, I cannot approve of them so far as to forsake that which 

Landing of Augustine in Britain 35 

I have so long followed with the whole English nation. But 
because you have come from afar into my kingdom and, as I 
believe, are desirous of imparting to us those things which you 
consider to be true and most beneficial, we will not molest you, 
but will give you favorable entertainment. We will also take 
care to supply you with your necessary sustenance; nor do we 
forbid you to preach and gain as many as you can to your 
religion." Accordingly, he permitted them to reside in the 
city of Canterbury, which was the metropolis of all his do- 
minions, and, according to his promise, besides allowing them 
sustenance, did not refuse them liberty to preach. It is re- 
ported that, as they drew near to the city with the holy cross 
and the image of our sovereign Lord and King, Jesus Christ, 
they sang this htany: "We beseech. Thee, O Lord, in all Thy 
mercy, that Thy anger and wrath be turned away from this 
city and from the holy house, because we have sinned. Halle- 

As soon as they entered the dwelling place assigned them, 
they began to imitate the course of life practiced in the primi- 
tive church; applying themselves to frequent prayer, watch- 
ing, and fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they 
could; despising all worldly things, as not belonging to them; 
receiving only their necessary food from those they taught; 
living themselves in all respects conformably to what they 
prescribed to others; and being always disposed to suffer any 
adversity, and even to die for that truth which they preached. 
In short, several believed and were baptized, admiring the 
simplicity of their innocent life and the sweetness of their 
heavenly doctrine. There was on the east side of the city a 
church dedicated to the honor of St. Martin, built while the 
Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as 
has been said before, was a Christian, used to pray. In this 
they first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach, 
and to baptize, till the king, being converted to the faith, 
allowed them to preach openly and build or repair churches 
in all places. . . . 

36 Reestablishment of Christianity in Britain 

When the king was baptized, great numbers began daily 
to flock together to hear the word and, forsaking their heathen 
rites, to unite with the church of Christ. Their conversion the 
king so far encouraged that he compelled none to embrace 
Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers, 
as to his fellow-citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he 
had learned from his instructors and leaders to salvation that 
the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion. 
It was not long before he gave his teachers a settled residence 
in his metropolis of Canterbury, with such possessions of 
different kinds as were necessary for their subsistence. 

19. Pope Gregory's Letter on Converting the Heathen ^ 

Pope Gregory, hearing from Bishop Augustine that " he had a great 
harvest and but few laborers," sent over to Britain several helpers, 
among them Abbot Mellitus. To MelHtus the pope addressed the 
following letter, in which he set forth the cautious methods to be adopted 
by the Roman monks in their work of converting the heathen. 

"We have been much concerned . . . because we have received 
no account of the success of your journey. When, therefore. 
Almighty God shall bring you to the most reverend Bishop 
Augustine, our brother, tell him what, upon mature delibera- 
tion on the affair of the English, I have determined upon. I 
think that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to 
be destroyed; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; 
let holy water be made and sprinkled in the said temples, and 
let altars be erected and relics placed. For if those temples 
are well built, it is requisite that they be converted from the 
worship of devils^ to the service of the true God; that the 
people, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may re- 
move error from their hearts, and, knowing and adoring the 
true God, may the more familiarly resort to the places to 
which they have been accustomed. 

And because the natives have been used to slaughter many 

1 Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, i, 30. 

2 Meaning the h>.:athen deities. 

Paulinus and the Conversion of Northumbria 37 

oxen in the sacrifices to devils, some festival must be ex- 
changed for them on this account. On the day of the dedica- 
tion or the birthdays of the holy martyrs, whose relics are there 
deposited, they may build themselves huts, of the boughs of 
trees, about those churches which have been turned to that 
use from temples, and celebrate the festival with religious 
feasting, and no more offer beasts to the devils, but kill cattle 
to the praise of God in their eating. Let them return thanks 
to the Giver of all things for their sustenance, to the end that, 
while some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they 
may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the 
grace of God. There is no doubt that it is impossible to efface 
everything at once from their obdurate minds; because he who 
endeavors to ascend to the highest place rises by degrees or 
steps, and not by leaps. ..." 

20. Paulinus and the Conversion of Northumbria ^ 

Augustine died in 604 and his protector, Ethelbert, in 616. The 
death of Ethelbert marked the end of Kentish supremacy in Britain. 
Northumbria, the country to the north of the Humber River, soon 
became the ruling power in the island. Edwin, the Northumbrian 
king (617-633), extended his rule as far as the Firth of Forth and es- 
tabhshed there a frontier fortress, from which Edinburgh (the city 
of Edwin) takes its name. He alHed Northumbria with Kent by 
marrying a daughter of Ethelbert. The Kentish princess had a 
chaplain, Paulinus, who urged the Northumbrian king to accept 

Edwin answered that he was both willing and bound to re- 
ceive the faith which Paulinus taught; but that he would 
confer about it with his principal friends and councilors, to 
the end that, if they also were of his opinion, they might all 
together be cleansed in Christ, the Fountain of Life. The 
king did as he said; for, holding a council with the wise men, 
he asked of every one in particular what he thought of the new 
doctrine and the new worship that was preached. To this 
question the chief of his own priests, Coifi, immediately 

1 Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, ii, 13. 

7,8 Reestablishment of Christianity in Britain 

answered, "O king, consider what this is which is preached 
to us; for I declare to you that the rehgion which we have 
hitherto professed has, as far as I can learn, no virtue in it. 
For none of your people has applied himself more diligently to 
the worship of our gods than I; and yet there are many who 
receive greater favors from you, and are more preferred than 
I, and are more prosperous in all their undertakings. Now, 
if the gods were good for anything, they would rather forward 
me, who have been most careful to serve them. If upon ex- 
amination you find these new doctrines, which are now preached 
to us, better and more efficacious, we ought to receive them 
immediately without any delay." 

Another of the king's chief men, approving of his words 
and exhortations, spoke to this effect, "The present life of man, 
O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which, is 
unknown to us, like the swift flight of a sparrow through the 
room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your com- 
manders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, while the 
storms of rain and snow prevail abroad. The sparrow, I say, 
flying in at one door and immediately out at another, while he 
is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but, after a short 
space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your 
sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this 
life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, 
or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant. If, therefore, 
this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems 
justly to deserve to be followed." The other elders and king's 
councilors, by divine inspiration, spoke to the same effect. 

Coifi now added that he wished more attentively to hear 
Paulinus discourse concerning the God whom he preached. 
When Paulinus, by the king's command, had spoken, Coifi, 
hearing his words, cried out, "I have long since been aware 
that there was nothing in that which we worshiped; because 
the more diligently I sought after truth in that worship, the 
less I found it. But now I freely confess that such truth 
evidently appears in this preaching as can confer on us the gifts 

Paulinus and the Conversion of Northumbria 39 

of life, of salvation, and of eternal happiness. For which 
reason I advise, O king, that we instantly abjure and set fire 
to those temples and altars which we have consecrated without 
reaping any benefit from them." In short, the king publicly 
gave his license to Paulinus to preach the Gospel and, renounc- 
ing idolatry, declared that he received the faith of Christ. 
When the king inquired of the high priest who should first 
profane the altars and temples of their idols, with the inclos- 
ures that were about them, he answered, "I; for who can more 
properly than myself destroy those things which I worshiped 
through ignorance. This will be an example to all others, 
through the wisdom which has been given me by the true God. " 



Wynfrith, afterwards known as St. Boniface, was 
born about 680 in Devonshire, England. While still a 
young man, he became a Benedictine monk and taught 
grammar and theology in the monastery schools. A 
distinguished career in the EngHsh Church was opening 
to him, when the call came to leave friends and father- 
land for the perilous work of a foreign missionary. St. 
Boniface visited Rome and received from Pope Gregory II 
a commission to evangelize Germany east of the Rhine. 
Supported by the pope and under the protection of the 
Frankish ruler, Charles Martel, St. Boniface began his 
self-appointed task.. In Frisia, Hesse, Thuringia, and 
Bavaria he led a systematic crusade, baptizing the heathen, 
overturning idols, and founding monasteries. Many 
helpers, both monks and nuns, came to him from England 
to transplant in the German wilderness English piety 
and culture. St. Boniface has been called the proconsul 
of the Papacy. First as bishop, then as archbishop, 
he was able to organize in Germany a strong Church, 
which looked to Rome for direction and control. It 
was from this Church of Germany that the remaining 
Teutonic peoples, including the Saxons, Danes, and 
Northmen, and the Slavic peoples beyond the Elbe, 
received Roman Christianity. 

1 The English Correspondence of St. Boniface, translated by Edward Kylie. 
London, igii. Chat to and Windus. 

Bishop Daniel's Letter of Introduction 41 

21. Bishop Daniel's Letter of Introduction ^ 

In 718 St. Boniface set out from England to visit Italy and see 
the pope. His friend, Bishop Daniel of Winchester, provided him with 
a general letter of introduction. 

To the pious and clement kings and to all princes, to the 
reverend and beloved bishops, to the holy abbots, the priests, 
and the spiritual children of Christ, Daniel, servant of the 
servants of God. 

The commands of God must be observed by all the faithful 
with sincere devotion, and the Holy Scriptures show how great 
is the reward of hospitality and how acceptable it is to God to 
discharge kind offices to travelers. The holy Abraham, because 
of bountiful hospitality, deserved to receive the blessed angels 
and to enjoy converse with them. Even so Lot, through the 
same discharge of pious offices, was snatched from the flames 
of Sodom; he was obedient to the commands of Heaven, and 
the grace of hospitality saved him from doom in the flames. 
So it will avail to your eternal salvation if you show to the holy 
priest and servant of the Omnipotent God, Wynfrith, who 
bears this letter, the love which God himself prizes and enjoins. 
Receiving the servants of God, you receive Him, for He has 
promised, "He that receiveth you receiveth Me."^ Doing 
this with heartfelt devotion you fulfill the bidding of God, 
and trusting to the divine promise you will have eternal re- 
ward with Him. 

22. A Letter from the Abbess Bugga ^ 

St. Boniface's interview with the pope proved to be completely- 
successful, as we learn from a letter to him written by his good friend 

Be it known to thee, my gracious friend, that I give thanks 
to Almighty God without ceasing, because, as I learned from 
thy letter. He has poured upon thee His manifold mercies 

1 Boniface, Epistolce, No. 3. 2 Matthew, x, 40. 

^ Boniface, Epistolce, No. 4. 

42 St. Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans 

and jealously guarded thee on thy way through unknown 
countries. First he inclined the pontiff/ who holds the chair 
of Peter, to smile on thy heart's wish. Afterwards he laid 
low before thee, Rathbod,- that enemy of the Catholic Church; 
and then he revealed to thee in a dream that thou wert to reap 
the harvest of God and to gather the sheaves of holy souls 
into the granary of the heavenly kingdom. Wherefore, I 
acknowledge the more freely that no temporal vicissitudes 
can move my mind from its steady guardianship of thy love. 
But the flames of that love burn the stronger in me, since 
I know that, through the merits of thy prayers, I have come to 
a harbor of some quiet. And so again I humbly beg thee, 
deign to offer thy intercession before God for my poor self, 
that His grace may keep me safe under thy protection. 

I would also have thee know that the book, The Sufferings of 
the Martyrs, which thou didst ask to have sent thee, I have 
not yet been able to obtain, but I shall send it when I can. 
And do thou, my beloved, send to console me what thou hast 
promised in thy kindest of letters, some selections from the 
Holy Scriptures. 

I beg, too, that thou wilt offer holy masses for my relative 

. . . who was dear to me beyond all others. With this messenger 

I send thee now fifty shillings and an altar pall, because I could 

not get larger gifts. But these, though small, are sent with 

my fondest love. 

23. Bishop Daniel's Instructions to St. Boniface ^ 

Out of devotion and goodwill I have sought to make to thy 
prudence a few suggestions, that thou mayst know how best 

1 Pope Gregory II. 

2 A heathen king of the Frisians, among whom St. Boniface had labored for a 
short time before undertaking the mission to Germany. It is said that Rathbod, 
having agreed to be baptized, had aheady set his foot in the water, when he stopped 
to ask whether his forefathers were in heaven or hell. On being told their fate, 
he cried, "I prefer to be with my ancestors in hell than with a few beggars in heaven," 
and rejected the sacrament. 

^ Boniface, Epistolce, No. 5. 

Bishop Daniel's Instructions to St. Boniface 43 

in my judgment to overcome promptly the obstinacy of 
ignorant minds. Thou shouldst not offer opposition to the 
heathen concerning the genealogy of their false gods. Thou 
shouldst allow them, rather, to claim that their deities were 
born of human parents; then thou canst show that gods and 
goddesses who were born after the manner of men were men 
rather than gods, and because they existed not before, had 
tlierefore a beginning. 

When they have learned perforce that the gods had a begin- 
ning, since some were born of others, they must be asked whether 
they think this universe had a beginning or was always in exis- 
tence. If it had a beginning, who created it? For certainly 
they cannot find for the gods begotten before the establish- 
ment of the universe any place where these could exist and 
dwell; by the universe I mean, not merely the visible earth 
and sky, but the whole extent of space, which the heathen 
themselves can grasp with the imagination. But if they 
maintain that the universe always existed without a beginning, 
seek to refute and convince them by many arguments and proofs; 
if they go on contending, ask them: Who ruled it? How did 
the gods reduce beneath their sway and bring under their 
jurisdiction a universe that existed before them? . . . Do they 
think that the gods should be worshiped for temporal and 
present blessings, or for an eternal and future reward? If 
for a temporal, let them show in what respect the heathen 
are happier than the Christians. What again do the heathen 
by their sacrifices mean to confer upon their gods, who have 
all things under their sway; or why do the gods leave it in the 
power of those subject to them to decide what tribute to offer? 
If they need such things, why could they not themselves have 
made a better choice? If they do not need them, the people 
are wrong to suppose that the gods can be appeased with such 
offerings of victims. 

These questions, and many like them, which it would take 
too long to enumerate, thou shouldst propose to them in no 
irritating or offensive manner, but with the greatest calmness 

44 St. Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans 

and moderation. And from time to time their superstitions 
should be compared with our Christian dogmas, and touched 
upon indirectly, so that the heathen, more out of confusion 
than exasperation, may blush for their absurd opinions and 
recognize that their detestable rites and legends do not escape 
our notice. 

It would also be natural to infer that, if their gods are om- 
nipotent and beneficent and just, not only do they reward their 
worshipers but punish those who despise them. But if they 
do both in the temporal order, why do they spare the Christians, 
who turn nearly the whole world from their worship and dis- 
regard their regulations. And the Christians possess the 
fertile lands and the provinces fruitful in wine and olives and 
overflowing with other riches, and have left them, that is, the 
heathen with their gods, only the frozen lands in which these 
latter are wrongly thought to hold sway. . . . 

And that they may not boast of the sway of the gods over 
these people as legitimate and existing always from the begin- 
ning, point out to them that the whole world was given over to 
the worship of idols until, illuminated by the knowledge of 
the Omnipotent God, its creator and ruler, it was vivified 
through the grace of Christ and reconciled to God. For when 
among Christians the children of the faithful are baptized daily, 
what do they do but purify themselves singly from the un- 
cleanness and guilt of paganism in which the whole world was 
once involved? . . . 

24. St. Boniface Asks for Prayers ^ 

In the following letter St. Boniface requests Eadburga, abbess of 
Thanet, to pray for him and for the heathen. The letter seems to 
have been written at a time when he was greatly distressed at the 
obstacles his mission met among the Germans and also among apostate 
churchmen. "Everywhere toil, everywhere sorrow." 

We beseech your loving clemency with heartfelt prayers 
to deign to intercede for us with the Author of all. That you 

1 BoniisLce, Epistolce, No. 28. 

How St. Boniface Ruled 45 

may not be ignorant of the cause of this prayer, know that 
because of our sins the course of our mission is threatened by 
many storms. Everywhere toil, everywhere sorrow. "With- 
out, fightings, within, fears." ^ And most serious of all, the 
snares of false brethren surpass the malice of the heathen. 
Wherefore, entreat the sacred defender of my life, the one 
safe refuge of those in trouble, ''the lamb of God, who taketh 
away the sins of the world," ^ with His protecting hand to 
keep me unharmed, as I pass through the lairs of such wolves; 
that where there should be found the fair feet of those who 
carry the lamp of the gospel of peace, there may not be dis- 
covered the footsteps of apostates who wander in darkness. . . . 
Meantime I pray you of your goodness to intercede for those 
heathen who have been intrusted to us by the Apostolic See; 
that the Savior of the world may snatch them from the worship 
of idols and unite them with the sons of their true mother, the 
Catholic Church, to the praise and glory of His name, ''Who 
will have all men to "be saved and to come unto the knowledge 
of the truth." ^ 

25. How St. Boniface Ruled ^ 

Some passages in a letter from St. Boniface to the archbishop of 
Canterbury give an excellent idea of his abilities as an administrator 
and of his devotion to the Roman Church. The letter belongs to the 
year 747. 

We decreed and acknowledged in our synod that we wished 
to preserve to the end of our lives the Catholic faith and unity 
and submission to the Roman Church; that we bowed to St. 
Peter and to his vicar; that we should call a synod together 
every year; that the metropolitans would seek their palls -^ 
from the Holy See; and that we desired to follow in everything 
the precepts of St. Peter, so as to be numbered among the sheep 
intrusted to him. To this profession we all agreed and set 
our hands. We forwarded it to the church of St. Peter, Prince 

^ 2 Corinthians, vii, 5. 2 John, i, 29. 3 i Timothy, ii, 4. 

* Boniface, Epistolce, No. 42. 

^ The pallium was the distinctive vestment of an archbishop, or metropolitan. 

46 St. Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans 

of the Apostles, where the Roman clergy and the pope received 
it with rejoicing. 

We determined that each year the canonical decrees and the 
laws of the Church and the rule of the monastic life should be 
read and reenacted in the synod. We decreed that the metro- 
poHtan who has received the dignity of the pall should exhort 
and admonish the rest and examine who among them is 
concerned about the welfare of the people, and who is careless. 
The servants of God we forbade to hunt and wander in the 
woods with dogs and to keep hawks and falcons. We decreed 
that each year each priest should give to his bishop at Easter 
an account of his labors, reporting on the Catholic faith and 
baptism and on the whole order of his ministry. We decreed 
that each year each bishop should go carefully through his 
diocese, to confirm the people, to teach them, and to examine 
into and prohibit pagan practices, divinations, drawing of 
lots, auguries, incantations, and all unclean customs of the 
Gentiles. We forbade the servants of God to wear showy 
dress and military cloaks or to use arms. . . . 

For the rest, dear brother, equal toil but greater danger 
hangs over us than over other priests, because the ancient 
canons enjoin the metropolitan to undertake the care of a whole 
province, and, to express my fears in a metaphor, we have un- 
dertaken to steer the ship among the waves of a savage sea, 
though we can neither guide it carefully nor lose it without a 
sin. . . . Therefore, the Church, which, like a great ship, sails 
over the sea of the world and is buffeted by the many waves 
of temptation in this life, must not be abandoned but steered. 

26. St. Boniface's Martyrdom ^ 

After nearly forty years of work in Germany, St. Boniface went 
to Frisia (modern Holland), his original mission field. There in 754, 
at the hands of its heathen inhabitants, he suffered martyrdom. How 
great was the regard in which the saint was held appears from a letter 
written by the archbishop of Canterbury to some of Boniface's friends 
and companions in Germany, 

1 Boniface, Epistolce, No. 47. 

St. Boniface's Martyrdom 47 

When we are told of any injury done to your Church, or any 
loss inflicted upon it, grief and sadness distress us; just as we 
share your joy in Christ, so do we mourn for Christ's sake over 
your adversities. For never can be obliterated from our memory 
the diverse and unceasing tribulations and sufferings which we 
in our hearts, but you with our father beloved of God, the martyr 
Boniface, long endured among persecuting pagans and leaders 
of heresy and schism on such a dangerous and barbarous mis- 
sion. Now, when in the agony of martyrdom he has departed 
gloriously and happily with his companions to the everlasting 
rest of his heavenly home, you move with the more danger and 
difficulty, because you are deprived of such a father and teacher. 

Though the bitterness of this grief afflicts us, yet a certain 
new and strong delight comes often to our minds to sweeten 
and lessen the sorrow. The more frequently we reflect thereon, 
the more joyously we thank God that the race of the English 
settled in Britain deserved to send forth from itself openly 
before the eyes of all to spiritual agonies such a famous inves- 
tigator of the divine books and such a splendid soldier of 
Christ, together with well-trained and instructed disciples, to 
the safety of many souls. . , . What has really been accom- 
plished the outcome of events proclaims more splendidly than 
words, especially in those places which no teacher before him 
sought to visit for the purpose of preaching. Wherefore ... we 
lovingly place this man among the splendid and glorious cham- 
pions of the orthodox faith, and praise and venerate him. 

Accordingly, in our general synod — where we also con- 
ferred fully upon other things of which we can inform you only 
briefly — we determined to fix the day when he and the band 
with him suffered martyrdom, and to celebrate it with a solemn 
yearly feast. We seek him especially as our patron, along with 
the blessed Gregory ^ and Augustine ^ j we are indeed assured 
of having him for such before Christ our Lord, whom he always 
loved during his life, and whom in death he gloriously exalted. 

^ Pope Gregory the Great. ^ Missionary to the English. 



The chief source of our knowledge concerning the 

teachings of Mohammed is, of course, the Koran. Many 

of the revelations composing this work were delivered by 

the prophet while in a state of trance, and these, together 

with his public speeches and prayers were gathered, 

shortly after his death, into the book as it now exists. 

There can be no doubt that the Koran is practically 

identical with the prophet's own words. But besides 

the Koran, there are the private utterances of Mohammed 

to his intimate friends and carefully treasured in their 

memories. These traditional sayings, or "Table-talk," 

are very numerous — more than seven thousand in the 

standard collection — but no one can tell how many 

represent the genuine words of the prophet. Pious 

Moslems, however, have accepted them as authentic, 

and have derived from them many rules for the guidance of 


27. Prayer and Almsgiving ^ 

It is not righteousness that ye turn your face toward the 
east or the west, but righteousness is in him who believeth in 
God and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Scriptures, 
and the prophets, and who giveth wealth for the love of God 
to his kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the son of 

1 The Speeches and Table-talk of the Prophet Mohammad, translated by Stanley 
Lane-Poole. London, 1882. Macmillan and Company. 

2 Lane-Poole, Speeches and Table-talk, pp. 133-135. 

Fasts and Pilgrimages 49 

the road and them that ask and for the freeing of slaves, and 
who is instant in prayer, and giveth alms; and those who ful- 
fill their covenant when they covenant, and the patient in ad- 
versity and affliction and in time of violence; these are they who 
are true, and these are they who fear God. 

Say: We believe in God, and what hath been sent down to 
thee, and what was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and 
Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes of Israel, and what was given 
to Moses, and to Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord 
— we make no distinction between any of them — and to Him 
are we resigned: and whoso desire th other than Islam ^ for a 
religion, it shall certainly not be accepted from him, and in 
the life to come he shall be among the losers. 

When the call to prayer soundeth on the Day of Congre- 
gation,^ then hasten to remember God, and abandon business; 
that is better for you if ye only knew: and when prayer is 
done, disperse in the land and seek of the bounty of God. 

Turn thy face toward the Sacred Mosque; ^ wherever ye 
be, turn your faces thitherwards. 

Give alms on the path of God, and let not your hands cast 
you into destruction; but do good, for God loveth those who 
do good; and accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit to God: 
but if ye be besieged, then send what is easiest as an offering. 

They will ask thee what they shall expend in alms; say, the 

If ye give alms openly, it is well; but if ye conceal it, and 
give it to the poor, it is better for you and will take away from 
you some of your sins: and God knoweth what ye do. 

Kind speech and forgiveness is better than alms which vexa- 
tion followeth; and God is rich and ruthful. 

28. Fasts and Pilgrimages ^ 

O ye who believe, there is prescribed for you the fast as it 
was prescribed for those before you; maybe ye will fear God 

^ That is, Resignation. 2 ^/ Jum'a, Friday, the Mohammedan Sabbath. 

3 At Mecca. ^ Lane-Poole, Speeches and Table-talk, pp. :b3S-i37. 

50 The Teachings of Mohammed 

for a certain number of days, but he among you who is sick 
or on a journey may fast a like number of other days. And 
for those who are able to fast and do not, the expiation is 
feeding a poor man; but he who voluntarily doeth a good act, 
it is better for him; and to fast is better for you, if ye only 
knew. The month of Ramadan, wherein the Koran was sent 
down for guidance to men, and for proofs of the guidance, and 
the distinguishing of good and evil; whoso among you seeth 
this month, let him fast in it; but he who is sick or on a journey, 
a like number of other days. . . . 

Proclaim among the people a pilgrimage: let them come on 
foot and on every fleet camel to be present at its benefits to 
them, and to make mention of God's name at the appointed 
days over the beasts with which He hath provided them: then 
eat thereof, and feed the poor and needy; then let them end 
the neglect of their persons, and pay their vows, and make 
the circuit of the ancient House.^ 

Do ye place the giving drink to the pilgrims, and the visit- 
ing of the Sacred Mosque, on the same level with him who 
believeth in God and the Last Day, and fighteth on the path 
of God? They are not equal in the sight of God. 

29. Prohibitions 2 

Fight in the path of God with those who fight with you — but 
exceed not; verily God loveth not those who exceed. And 
kill them wheresoever ye find them, and thrust them out from 
whence they thrust you out; for dissent is worse than slaughter; 
but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight 
you there: but if they fight you, then kill them: such is the 
reward of the infidels! But if they desist, then verily God is 
forgiving and merciful. But fight them till there be no dis- 
sent, and the worship be only to God; but, if they desist, then 
let there be no hostility save against the transgressors. 

1 The Kaaba, or chief sanctuary of Mecca. 

2 Lane-Poole, Letters and Table-talk, pp. 137-138. 

Civil and Criminal Law 51 

They will ask thee of the sacred month/ and fighting therein ; 
say, Fighting therein is a great sin; but turning people away 
from God's path, and disbelief in Him and in the Sacred Mosque, 
and turning His people out therefrom, is a greater sin in God's 
sight, and dissent is a greater sin than slaughter. 

Forbidden to you is that which dieth of itself, and blood, 
and the flesh of swine, and that which is dedicated to other than 
God, and what is strangled, and what is killed by a blow, or 
by falling, and what is gored, and what wild beasts have preyed 
on, and what is sacrificed to idols; and to divine by the divina- 
tion of arrows, that is transgression in you. 

Make not God the butt of your oaths, that ye may be pious 
and fear God, and make peace among men, for God heareth 
and knoweth. 

O ye who believe, verily wine and gambling and statues 
and divining arrows are only an abomination of the Devil's 
making: avoid them then; haply ye may prosper. 

30. Civil and Criminal Law ^ 

It is not for a believer to kill a believer, but by mistake; and 
whoso killeth a believer by mistake must free a believing slave; 
and the blood-price must be paid to his family, unless they re- 
mit it in alms. . . . And whoso killeth a believer on purpose, 
his reward is hell, to abide therein forever, and God will be 
wroth with him, and curse him, and prepare for him a mighty 

O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you for the 
slain: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman 
for the woman, yet for him who is remitted aught by his brother, 
shall be prosecution in reason and payment in generosity. . . . 

The man thief and the woman thief, cut off the hands of 
both in requital for what they have done: an example from 
God, for God is mighty and wise. 

1 The month of Ramadan. 

2 Lane-Poole, Speeches and Table-talk, pp. 139-143. 

52 The Teachings of Mohammed 

They who practice usury shall not rise again, save as he riseth 
whom the Devil hath smitten with his touch; that is because 
they say, ''Selling is only like usury": but God hath allowed 
selling, and forbidden usury. 

Marry those of you who are single, and the good among your 
servants, and your handmaidens. If they be poor, God of his 
bounty will enrich them, and God is liberal and wise. And let 
those who cannot find a match, live in chastity, till God of His 
bounty shall enrich them. 

Wed not idolatrous women until they believe, for surely a 
believing handmaiden is better than an idolatress, although 
she captivate you. And wed not idolaters until they believe, 
for a believing slave is better than the idolater, although he 
charm you. 

Divorce may be twice: then take wives in reason or let them 
go with kindness. . . . And for the divorced there should be a 
maintenance in reason: this is a duty on those who fear God. . . . 

It is prescribed for you that, when one of you is at the 
point of death, if he leave property, the legacy is to his 
parents and to his kindred in reason — a duty upon those 
that fear God. . . . 

These are God's statutes, and whoso obeyeth God and His 
prophet He will bring him into gardens, whereunder rivers 
flow, to abide therein for aye — that is the great prize! But 
whoso rebelleth against God and His prophet, and transgresseth 
His statutes. He will bring him into fire, to dwell therein for 
aye; and his shall be a shameful torment. 

31. Traditional Sayings ^ 

When God created the creation, He wrote a book, which is 
near Him upon His throne; and what is written in it is this: 
"Verily my compassion overcometh my wrath." 

Say not, if people do good to us, we will do good to them, 
and if people oppress us, we will oppress them: but resolve 

1 Lane-Poole, Speeches and Table-talk, pp. 147-182. 

Traditional Sayings 53 

that if people do good to you, you will do good to them, and if 
they oppress you, oppress them not again. 

The most excellent of all actions is to befriend anyone on 
God's account, and to be at enmity with whosoever is the enemy 
of God. 

When a Moslem performeth the ablution, it washeth from his 
face those faults which he may have cast his eyes upon; and 
when he washeth his hands, it removeth the faults they may 
have committed, and when he washeth his feet, it dispelleth 
the faults toward which they may have carried him; so that 
he will rise up in purity from the place of ablution. 

A man's giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is 
better for him than giving one hundred when about to die. 

Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captive if he be 
unjustly bound. 

A keeper of fasts, who doth not abandon lying and slander- 
ing, God careth not about his leaving off eating and drinking. 

Read the Koran constantly: I sware by Him in the hands of 
whose might is my life, verily the Koran runneth away faster 
than a camel which is not tied by the leg. 

The Prophet hath cursed ten persons on account of wine: 
one, the first extractor of the juice of the grape for others; the 
second for himself; the third the drinker of it;* the fourth 
the bearer of it; the fifth the person to whom it is brought; 
the sixth the waiter; the seventh the seller of it; the eighth the 
eater of its price; the ninth the buyer of it; the tenth that 
person who hath purchased it for another. 

Merchants shall be raised up liars on the Day of Resurrec- 
tion, except he who abstaineth from that which is unlawful, 
and doth not swear falsely, but speaketh truth as to the price 
o'f his goods. 

The taker of interest and the giver of it, and the writer of 
its papers and the witness to it, are equal in crime. 

The bringers of grain to the city to sell at a cheap rate gain 
immense advantage by it, and he who keepeth back grain in 
order to sell at a high rate is cursed. 

54 The Teachings of Mohammed 

He who desireth that God should redeem him from the 
sorrows and difficuhies of the Day of Resurrection must delay 
in calling on poor debtors, or forgive the debt in part or whole. 

Give the laborer his wage before his perspiration be dry. 

I swear by God, in whose hand is my life, that marching 
about morning and evening to fight for religion is better than 
the world and everything that is in it: and verily the standing 
of one of you in the line of battle is better than prayers per- 
formed in your house for sixty years. 

No judge must decide between two persons while he is angry. 

The world and all things in it are valuable, but the most 
valuable thing in the world is a virtuous woman. 

Admonish your wives with kindness; for women were created 
out of a crooked rib of Adam, therefore if ye wish to straighten 
it, ye will break it; and if ye let it alone, it will always be 

Every woman who dieth, and her husband is pleased with 
her, shall enter into paradise. 

That which is lawful but disliked by God is divorce. 

Do not prevent your women from coming to the mosque; 
but their homes are better for them. 

God has ordained that your brothers should be your slaves: 
therefore him whom God hath ordained to be the slave of his 
brother, his brother must give him of the food which he eateth 
himself, and of the clothes wherewith he clotheth himself, and 
not order him to do anything beyond his power, and if he doth 
order such a work, he must himself assist him in doing it. 

He who beateth his slave without fault, or slappeth him in 
the face, his atonement for this is freeing him. 

A man who behaveth ill to his slave will not enter into para- 

Forgive thy servant seventy times a day. 

Fear God in respect of animals: ride them when they are 
fit to be ridden, and get off when they are tired. 

Whosoever believeth in God and the Day of Resurrection 
must respect his guest, and the time of being kind to him is one 

Traditional Sayings 55 

day and one night, and the period of entertaining him is three 
days, and after that, if he doeth it longer, he benefiteth him 
more. It is not right for a guest to stay in the house of the 
host so long as to inconvenience him. 

Verily a king is God's shadow upon the earth; and everyone 
oppressed turneth to him: then when the king doeth justice, 
for him are rewards and gratitude from his subjects: but, if 
the king oppresseth, on him is sin, and for the oppressed 

Every painter is in hell fire: and God will appoint a person 
at the Day of Resurrection for every picture he shall have 
drawn, to punish him, and they will punish him in hell. Then 
if you must make pictures, make them of trees and things with- 
out souls. 

servants of God use medicine: because God hath not 
created a pain without a remedy for it, except age; for that 
is a pain without a remedy. 

Whoso pursueth the road of knowledge, God will direct him 
to the road of paradise; and verily the angels spread their arms 
to receive him who seeketh after knowledge; and everything 
in heaven and earth will ask grace for him; and verily the supe- 
riority of a learned man over a mere worshiper is like that of 
the full moon over all the stars. 

Be not extravagant in praising me, as the Christians are in 
praising Jesus, Mary's Son, by calling him God, and the Son of 
God; I am only the Lord's servant; then call me the servant of 
God, and His messenger. 

Wish not for death any one of you; either a doer of good 
works, for peradventure he may increase them by an increase 
of life; or an offender, for perhaps he may obtain the forgive- 
ness of God by repentance. 

1 am no more than man; when I order you anything with 
respect to religion, receive it, and when I order you about the 
affairs of the world, then I am nothing more than man. 



The Heimskringla is a collection of the sagas relating 
to the early Norwegian kings. It was composed in the 
thirteenth century by the Icelandic historian and poet, 
Snorre Sturlason. Iceland, at the time he wrote, was 
rich in legends and skaldic poems. Snorre learned from 
them all, but he told the story in his own way, artistic- 
ally, and at the same time with such accuracy as he 
could command. One of the most interesting of the 
sagas in the Heimskringla deals with the life of Olaf 
Trygvesson, who reigned in Norway between the years 
995-1000. In character this king was a typical Viking. 

32. Olaf 's Early Career 2 

Olaf, the son of a Norwegian king, was only three years old when 
his mother set out with him for Russia, where the Northmen had 
settled. On the way there they were captured by Esthonian pirates. 
Olaf fell to the share of an Esthonian named Klerkon, who sold him 
into slavery. Olaf's uncle, Sigurd, found him in Esthonia, paid his ran- 
som, and brought him to Novgorod in Russia. Sigurd at first did not 
disclose his relationship to Olaf, but treated the boy with kindness. 

Olaf was one day in the market place of Novgorod, where 
there was a great number of people. He there recognized 
Klerkon, who had killed his foster-father, Thoralf. Olaf had 
a little ax in his hand, and with it he clove Klerkon's skull 
down to the brain, and then ran home and told his friend Sigurd 

1 Heimskringla. The Olaf Sagas, by Snorre Sturlason. The translation by 
Samuel Laing, revised by John Beveridge. London, 1915. J. M. Dent and Sons. 

2 Olaf Trygvesson's Saga, chs. 7, 21, 30, 32-34. 

Olaf's Early Career 57 

what he had done. Sigurd immediately took Olaf to Queen 
Olga's house, told her what had happened, and begged her 
to protect the boy. She replied that Olaf was too comely a 
boy to be slain; and she ordered her people to be drawn out 
fully armed. In Novgorod the sacredness of peace is so re- 
spected, that it is law there to slay anyone who puts a man to 
death except by judgment of law; and, according to this law 
and usage, the whole people stormed and sought after the boy. 
... It was settled at last that the king should name the fine for 
the murder; and the queen paid it. 

Olaf remained afterwards with the queen, and was much 
beloved. It is a law at Novgorod that no man of royal de- 
scent shall stay there without the king's permission. Sigurd 
therefore told the queen of what family Olaf was . . . and asked 
her to speak to the king about it. She did so, and begged her 
husband to help a king's son whose fate had been so hard; and 
in consequence of her request the king promised to assist him. 
Accordingly he received Olaf into his court and treated him 
nobly. Olaf was nine years old when he came to Russia, and 
he remained nine years more with King Valdemar. Olaf was 
the handsomest of men, very stout and strong, and in all bodily 
exercises he excelled every Northman that ever was heard of. 

But many envied Olaf because he was so favored by the king and 

They hinted to the king that he should take care not to 
make Olaf too powerful. "Such a man," said they, "may be 
dangerous to you, if he were to allow himself to be used for the 
purpose of doing you or your kingdom harm; for he is extremely 
expert in all exercises and feats and is very popular. We do not, 
indeed, know what it is he can have to talk of so often with the 
queen." ... So it fell out that the king listened to such speeches, 
and became somewhat silent and blunt toward Olaf. When 
Olaf observed this, he told it to the queen. He said, also, 
that he desired to travel to the Northern land, where his 
family formerly had power and kingdoms and where it was 

58 The Saga of a Viking 

most likely he would advance himself. The queen wished 
him a prosperous journey, and said he would be found a brave 
man wherever he might be. Olaf then made ready, went on 
board, and set out to sea in the Baltic. 

As he was coming from the east he made the island of Born- 
holm, where he landed and plundered. The country people 
hastened down to the strand and gave him battle; but Olaf 
gained the victory and a large booty. . . . While Olaf lay at 
Bornholm there came on bad weather, storm and a heavy sea, 
so that his ships could not lie there; and he sailed southwards 
to Wendland,^ where they found a good harbor. They con- 
ducted themselves very peacefully and remained some time. 

Olaf married the queen of Wendland and ruled over her dominions. 

Olaf was three years in Wendland when Geyra, his queen, 
fell sick, and she died of her illness. Olaf felt his loss so great 
that he now had no pleasure in Wendland. He provided him- 
self, therefore, with warships, and went out again on plunder- 
ing expeditions. He plundered first in Friesland, next in Saxony, 
and then all the way to Flanders. . . . Thereafter Olaf sailed 
to England and ravaged far and wide in the land. He sailed 
all the way north to Northumberland, where he plundered; 
and thence to Scotland. Then he went to the Hebrides, where 
he fought some battles; and then southwards to Man, where 
he also fought. He ravaged the country of Ireland, and thence 
steered to Wales, which he laid waste with fire and sword, and 
also the district called Cumberland. He then sailed southward 
to the west coast of France and plundered there. When he 
left the south, intending to sail to England, he came to the 
Scilly Islands, lying westward from England in the ocean. . . . 
Olaf had been four years on this cruise from the time he left 
Wendland till he came to the Scilly Islands. 

It was at this time that the heathen Viking accepted Christianity. 

1 The land of the Wends, a Slavic people who then occupied the coast from the 
mouth of the Vistula westward. 

Olaf's Early Career 59 

While Olaf lay in the Scilly Islands he heard of a seer, who 
could tell beforehand things not yet done, and what he fore- 
told many believed was really fulfilled, Olaf became curious 
to try this man's gift of prophecy. He therefore sent one of 
his men, who was the handsomest and strongest, clothed him 
magnificently, and bade him say he was the king; for Olaf 
was known in all countries as handsomer, stronger, and braver 
than all others, although, after he had left Russia, he retained 
no more of his name than that he was called Ole, and was Rus- 
sian. Now when the messenger came to the seer and gave 
himself out for the king, he got the answer, ''Thou art not the 
king, but I advise thee to be faithful to thy king." And more 
he would not say to that man. The man returned and told 
Olaf, and his desire to meet the seer was increased; and now 
he had no doubt of his being really a seer. 

Olaf himself went to him and, entering into conversation, 
asked him if he could foresee how it would go with him with 
regard to his kingdom, or of any other fortune he was to have. 
The seer replied in a holy spirit of prophecy, ''Thou wilt 
become a renowned king and do celebrated deeds. Many 
men wilt thou bring to faith and baptism, and both to thy own 
and others' good; and that thou mayst have no doubt of the 
truth of this answer, listen to these tokens: When thou comest 
to thy ships many of thy people will conspire against thee, and 
then a battle will follow in which many of thy men will fall, 
and thou wilt be wounded almost to death, and carried upon a 
shield to thy ship; yet after seven days thou shalt be well of 
thy wounds, and immediately thou shalt let thyself be baptized." 

Soon after Olaf went down to his ships, where he met some 
mutineers and people who would destroy him and his men. 
A fight took place, and the result was what the seer had pre- 
dicted. Olaf was wounded, and carried upon a shield to his 
ship, and his wound was healed in seven days. Then Olaf 
perceived that the man had spoken truth. Olaf went once 
more to the seer, and asked particularly how he came to have 
such wisdom in foreseeing things to be. The hermit replied 

6o The Saga of a Viking 

that the Christian's God himself let him know all that he 
desired, and he brought before Olaf many great proofs of the 
power of the Almighty. In consequence of this encourage- 
ment Olaf agreed to let himself be baptized, and he and all 
his followers were baptized forthwith. He remained here a 
long time, took the true faith, and got with him priests and other 
learned men. 

From the Scilly Islands Olaf proceeded to England. He did not 
ravage the country, because he was now a Christian. 

At this time a summons to a Thing ^ went through the coun- 
try, that all men should come to hold a Thing. Now when the 
Thing was assembled, a queen called Gyda came to it, a daughter 
of Olaf Kvaran, who was king of Dublin in Ireland. She had 
been married to a great earl in England, and after his death she 
was at the head of his dominions. In her territory there was 
a man called Alfin, who was a great champion and single-com- 
bat man. He had paid his addresses to her; but she answered 
that she herself would choose what man in her dominions she 
would take in marriage; and on that account the Thing was 
assembled. Alfin came to the assembly dressed in his best 
clothes, and there were many well-dressed men at the meeting. 
Olaf had come there also; but had on his bad-weather clothes, 
and a coarse over-garment, and stood with his people apart 
from the rest of the crowd. Gyda went round and looked at 
each, to see if any appeared to her a suitable man. Now when 
she came to where Olaf stood, she looked at him straight in the 
face, and asked, "What sort of man are you?" 

He said, "I am called Ole; and I am a stranger here." 
Gyda replied, ''Wilt thou have me if I choose thee?" 
"I will not say no to that," answered he; and he asked what 
her name was, and her family, and descent. 

"I am called Gyda," said she, "and am the daughter of the 
king of Ireland, and was married in this country to an earl 
who ruled over this territory. Since his death I have ruled 

^ A general assembly. 

Olaf as King of Norway 6i 

over it, and many have courted me, but none to whom I would 
choose to be married." 

She was a young and handsome woman. They afterwards 
talked over the matter together and agreed, and so Olaf and 
Gyda were betrothed. 

Alfin was very ill pleased with this. It was the custom then 
in England, if two men strove for anything, to settle the matter 
by single combat; and now Alfin challenged Olaf to fight 
about this business. The time and place for the duel were 
settled. Each combatant was to have twelve men with him. 
When they met, Olaf told his men to do exactly as they saw 
him do. He had a large ax; and when Alfin was going to 
cut at him with his sword, he hewed away the sword out of 
his hand and with the next blow struck down Alfin himself. 
He then bound him fast. It went in the same way with all 
Alfin's men. They were beaten down, bound, and carried 
to Olaf's lodging. Thereupon he ordered Alfin to quit the 
country, and never appear in it again; and Olaf took all his 
property. Olaf in this way got Gyda in marriage, and lived 
sometimes in England and sometimes in Ireland. 

33. Olaf as King of Norway i 

After living several years in the British Isles, Olaf went to Norway, 
then under the unpopular rule of Earl Haakon. The Norwegians 
unanimously accepted Olaf as king. He now set about the conver- 
sion of the country to Christianity. One of his first acts was to get 
rid of the heathen magicians, who exerted much influence over the 

Then Olaf proceeded to Tunsberg, and held a Thing, at 
which he declared in a speech that all the men of whom it should 
be known to a certainty that they dealt with evil spirits or in 
witchcraft should be banished from the land. Thereafter the 
king had all the neighborhood ransacked for such people, 
and called them all before him; and when they were brought 
to the Thing, there was a man among them called Eyvind 

I Olaf Trygvessons Saga, chs. 69, 75-76, 02. 

62 The Saga of a Viking 

Kellda, a sorcerer, and particularly knowing in witchcraft. 
Olaf let all these men be seated in one room, which was well 
adorned, and made a great feast for them and gave them strong 
drink in plenty. Now when they were all very drunk, he 
ordered the house to be set on fire, and all the people within it 
were consumed, except Eyvind Kellda, who contrived to escape 
by the smoke hole in the roof. And when he had got a long 
way off, he met some people on the road going to the king, 
and he told them to tell the king that Eyvind Kellda had slipped 
away from the fire and would never come again in Olaf's power, 
but would carry on his arts of witchcraft as much as ever. 

How Olaf spread Christianity by the sword is thus related. 

' King Olaf went with all his forces into the Drontheim 
country; and when he came to Maere, all among the chiefs of 
the Drontheim people who were most opposed to Christianity 
were assembled, and had with them all the great bonders ^ 
who had before made sacrifice at that place. Now the king 
let the people be summoned to the Thing, where both parties 
met armed; and when the Thing was seated the king made a 
speech, in which he told the people to go over to Christianity. 
Jem Skiaegge (Iron Beard) replied on the part of the bonders 
and said that the will of the bonders was now, as formerly, 
that Olaf should not break their laws. "We want, king," 
said he, "that thou shouldst offer sacrifice, as other kings 
before thee have done." All the bonders applauded his speech 
with a loud shout and said they would have all things accord- 
ing to what Jern Skiaegge said. Then Olaf said he would go 
into the temple of their gods with them and see what the prac- 
tices were when they sacrificed. The bonders thought well 
of this proceeding, and both parties went to the temple. 

Now Olaf entered into the temple with a few of his men and 
a few bonders; and when the king came to where their gods 
were, Thor, as the most considered among their gods, sat there 
adorned with gold and silver. Olaf lifted up his gold-inlaid 

1 Landowners. 

Olaf as King of Norway 63 

ax, which he carried in his hands, and struck Thor so that the 
image rolled down from its seat. Then the king's men turned 
to and threw down all the gods from their seats; and while 
the king was in the temple, Jern Skiaegge was killed outside of 
the temple doors, and the king's men did it. When Olaf came 
forth out of the temple he offered the bonders two conditions 
— that all should accept Christianity forthwith, or that they 
should fight with him. But as Jern Skiaegge was killed, there 
was no leader in the bonders' army to raise the banner against 
Olaf; so they took the other condition, to surrender to his will 
and obey his order. Then Olaf had all the people present bap- 
tized and took hostages from them for their remaining true to 
Christianity; and he sent his men around to every district, 
and no man in the Drontheim country opposed Christianity, 
but all people took baptism. 

Olaf s character and personality are thus described. 

Olaf was more expert in all exercises than any man in Nor- 
way whose memory is preserved to us in sagas; and he was 
stronger and more agile than most men, and many stories are 
written down about it. One is, that he ascended the Smalsar 
Horn and fixed his shield upon the very peak. Another is, 
that one of his followers had climbed up the peak after him 
unftl he came to where he could neither get up nor down; but 
the king came to his help, climbed up to him, took him under 
his arm, and bore him to the flat ground. Olaf could run across 
the oars outside of his vessel while his men were rowing it. 
He could play with three daggers, so that one was always in 
the air, and he took the one falling by the handle. He could 
walk all round upon the ship's rails, could strike and cut equally 
well with both hands, and could cast two spears at once. Olaf 
was a merry, frolicsome man; gay and social; had great taste 
in everything; was very generous; was very finical in his dress, 
but in battle he exceeded all in bravery. He was distinguished 
for cruelty when he was enraged, and tortured many of his 
enemies. Some he burnt in fire; some he had torn in pieces 

64 The Saga of a Viking 

by mad dogs; some he had mutilated, or cast down from high 
precipices. On this account his friends were attached to him 
warmly and his enemies feared him greatly; and thus he made 
such a fortunate advance in his undertakings, for some obeyed 
his will out of the friendliest zeal and others out of dread. 

Olaf had a short reign. In the year 1000; while on an expedition 
against Denmark, he was attacked by the combined Swedish and 
Danish fleets, together with the ships of Earl Haakon's sons. The 
battle ended in the destruction of the Norwegian fleet. Olaf fought 
to the last on his great vessel, the Long Serpent, and finally leaped over- 
board. After his death he remained the hero of his people, who 
believed that he was still alive and looked for his return. ''How- 
ever that may be," says the saga, " Olaf Trygvesson never came back 
to his kingdom in Norway." 



EiNHARD and Asser, the authors of two of the most im- 
portant biographies written in the early Middle Ages, 
have some points in common. Both were monks with a 
talent for letters, both lived at the court of their respec- 
tive heroes, and both wrote short accounts of them, 
based largely on personal experience and observation. 
Just as we turn to Einhard for the best contemporary 
description of Charlemagne, so we go to Asser for the 
liveHest and most authentic presentation of the famous 
English king. Asser's Life is provokingly brief; it is 
confused in arrangement; and it is often crabbed in 
style. But it supphes us with most of our knowledge con- 
cerning a king who was not merely great but also truly 
good, one whom later ages have delighted to remember 
as "England's Darling," "England's Shepherd," and 
"Alfred the Truthteller." 

34. Alfred's Zeal for Study 2 

It chanced on a certain day that his mother showed to him 
and his brothers a book of Saxon poetry, which she had in her 
hand, and said, "I will give this book to that one among you 
who shall the most quickly learn it." Then, moved at these 
words, or rather by the inspiration of God, and being carried 
away by the beauty of the initial letter in that book, antici- 

1 Asserts Life of King Alfred, translated by L. C. Jane. London, 1908. Chatto 
and Windus. 

^ Asser, Annates rerum gestarum Alfredi Magni, chs. 23-25. 

66 Alfred the Great 

pating his brothers who surpassed him in years but not in grace, 
he answered his mother and said, "Will you of a truth give that 
book to one of us? To him who shall soonest understand it 
and repeat it to you?" And at this she smiled and said again, 
"I will give it to him." Then forthwith he took the book from 
her hand, went to his master, and read it; and when he had 
read it he brought it back to his mother and repeated it to her. 

After this he learnt the Daily Course, that is, the services 
for each hour, and then some psalms and many prayers. These 
were collected in one book, which, as we have ourselves seen, 
he constantly carried about with him everywhere in the fold 
of his cloak, for the sake of prayer amid all the passing events 
of this present life. But, alas! the art of reading which he most 
earnestly desired he did not acquire in accordance with his 
wish, because, as he was wont himself to say, in those days 
there were no men really skilled in reading throughout the 
whole realm of the West Saxons. 

With many complaints and with heartfelt regrets he used 
to declare that among all the difficulties and trials of his life 
this was the greatest. For at the time when he was of an age 
to learn, and had leisure and ability for it, he had no masters; 
but when he was older, and indeed to a certain extent had 
anxious masters and writers, he could not read. For he was 
occupied by day and night without ceasing with illnesses un- 
known to all the physicians of the time, with the cares of the 
royal office both at home and abroad, and with the assaults 
of the heathen by land and sea. None the less, amid these 
difficulties from his infancy to the present day, he has not 
faltered in his earnest pursuit of knowledge, nor does he even 
now cease to long for it, nor, as I think, will he ever do so until 
the end of his life. 

35. Character and Virtues of Alfred ^ 

Amid the wars and many hindrances of his life, and amid 
the assaults of the pagans and his daily illness, Alfred ceased 

1 Asser, Annates rerum gestarum Alfredi Magni, ch. 76. 

Character and Virtues of Alfred 67 

not from the government of the kingdom and from the pursuit 
of every form of hunting. Nor did he omit to instruct also 
his goldsmiths and all his artificers, his falconers and his hunts- 
men and the keepers of his dogs; nor to make, according to 
new designs of his own, articles of goldsmiths' work, more 
precious than had been the wont of all his predecessors. He 
was constant in the reading of books in the Saxon tongue, 
and more especially in committing to memory the Saxon poems 
and in commanding others to do so. And he by himself labored 
most zealously with all his might. 

Moreover, he heard the divine offices daily, the mass, and 
certain psalms and prayers. He observed the services of the 
hours by day and by night, and oftentimes was he accustomed, 
without the knowledge of his men, to go in the night to the 
churches for the sake of prayer. He was zealous in the giving 
of alms, and generous toward his own people and to those 
who came from all nations. He was especially kind toward 
all men, and merry. And to the searching out of things not 
known did he apply himself with all his heart. . . . 

He was eager and anxious to hear the Holy Scripture read 
to him by his own folk, but he would also as readily pray with 
strangers, if by any chance one had come from any place. 
Moreover, he loved with wonderful affection his bishops and 
all the clergy, his earldormen and nobles, his servants and all 
his household. And cherishing their sons, who were brought 
up in the royal household, with no less love than he bore toward 
his own children, he ceased not day and night to teach them all 
virtue and to make them well acquainted with letters. 

But it was as though he found no comfort in all these things. 
For, as if he suffered no other care from within or without, he 
would make complaint to the Lord and to all who were joined 
to him in close affection, lamenting with many sighs that God 
had not made him skilled in divine wisdom and in the liberal 
arts. ... He would obtain, wherever he could, those who might 
assist his righteous intention and who might be able to aid him 
in acquiring the wisdom for which he longed. 

68 Alfred the Great 

36. Alfred's Handbook 1 

In the year 887 Alfred, by the inspiration of God, began 
first to read and to interpret at the same time on one and the 
same day. But that the matter may be quite clear to those 
who know it not, I will take care to explain the reason for this 
late beginning. 

When we were one day sitting together in the royal chamber 
and were holding converse upon various topics, it chanced 
that I repeated to him a quotation from a certain book. And 
when he had listened attentively to this and had carefully 
pondered it in his mind, suddenly he showed me a Httle book, 
which he carried constantly in the fold of his cloak. In it 
were written the Daily Course, and certain psalms, and some 
prayers, which he had read in his youth, and he commanded 
that I should write that quotation in this same little book. 

When I heard this and knew in part his zealous devotion 
toward the study of the wisdom of God, I raised my hands 
to heaven and gave great thanks, though in silence, to God, 
who had put such zeal for the study of wisdom in the royal 
heart. But I found no empty space in the book where I 
might write that quotation, since it was altogether filled with 
many matters. Therefore I hesitated for a little while, es- 
pecially because I was eager to provoke the excellent under- 
standing of the king to a greater knowledge of the witness 
of God. 

And when he urged me to write as quickly as possible, I 
said to him, ''Are you willing for me to write that quotation 
apart by itself on some small leaf? For we may find at some 
future time another quotation which will please you; and if it 
should so turn out unexpectedly, we shall rejoice that we have 
kept this apart from the rest." 

When he heard this, he said, "Your counsel is good." And 
I, hearing this and being glad, made ready a book of several 
leaves, and at the beginning of it I wrote that quotation 

1 Asser, Annates rerum gestarum Alfredi Magni, chs. 87-S9. 

Alfred's Administration of Justice 69 

according to iiis command. On the same day, by his order, 
I wrote in the same book no less than three other quotations 
pleasing to him, as I had foretold. And afterwards, day by 
day, in the course of the talk between us, as we kept our atten- 
tion on this, other quotations, just as pleasing, were found 
and were written in the book. . . . 

Now from the time of the writing of that first quotation, he 
strove earnestly to read and to translate into the Saxon tongue, 
and after that to teach many others. . . . 

He began to learn the outlines of the Holy Scripture on the 
sacred feast of St. Martin. And after that he learned, as far 
as he might, the flowers which his masters had gathered on all 
sides, and he brought them all into the compass of a single 
book, until it became almost as large as a psalter. This volume 
he used to call his Enchiridion, that is, his Handbook, because 
with the utmost care he kept it at his hand day and night, and 
in it he found no small solace. 

37. Alfred's Administration of Justice * 

He was a careful searcher out of truth in judgments, and the 
more so owing to his care of the poor. On their behalf, amid 
all the other duties of this present life, he was wonderfully 
solicitous day and night. And, indeed, in all that realm the 
poor had no helpers, or but very few, save him alone, since 
almost all the great men and nobles of that land had turned 
their minds to secular rather than to heavenly works. And 
each regarded rather his own temporal advantage than the 
good of all. 

And in judgment he sought earnestly the good of his people, 
gentle and simple. For they very often, at the meetings of 
the ealdormen and the reeves, disputed among them, so that 
hardly any of them would allow that the judgment of the 
ealdormen or reeves was right. And constantly driven by 
this obstinate disputing, they were desirous to submit to the 

1 Asser, Annates rerum gestarum Alfredi Magni, chs. 105-106. 

70 Alfred the Great 

judgment of the king alone, and straightway hastened from 
every side to secure it. Yet a man who knew that there was 
some wrong on his side in a dispute would not willingly go to 
the judgment of such a judge, though compelled to do so against 
his will in accordance with law and his promise. For he knew 
that in the presence of Alfred not one of his ill deeds could be 
concealed for a moment. Nor is that strange, since the king 
was very skillful in the execution of judgment as in all other 

He carefully considered all the judgments of almost his 
whole realm, that had been given in his absence, as to what they 
were, whether just or unjust. And if he was able to discover 
any wrong in those judgments, he would gently summon the 
judges to him of his own accord, and either in person or by some 
other faithful men would question them as to why they had 
judged so wrongly. He would inquire whether it was from 
ignorance, or from ill-will of any sort, from love or fear of any 
man, or from hatred of others, or from greed of any man's 
money. Then if those judges professed that they had so judged 
because they could come to no better understanding of the 
matter, he would correct their inexperience and foolishness 
with discretion and moderation. . . . 

And when they heard his words . . . the ealdormen and 
reeves would strive to turn themselves with all their might 
to the work of learning justice. Wherefore in a marvelous 
way almost all the ealdormen, reeves, and officers, who had 
been ilHterate from infancy, studied the art of letters, pre- 
ferring to learn an unwonted discipline with great toil than 
to lose the exercise of power. 



William of Malmesbury, the best English historian 
of the twelfth century, was of mixed English and Nor- 
man blood. For this reason he found it possible to judge 
fairly between the conquerors and the conquered, who, 
when he wrote, were gradually blending into one nation. 
William spent most of his life as a monk at Malmes- 
bury, where he produced the historical compositions 
which gave him a high reputation among scholars. His 
most important book was a Chronicle of the Kings of 
England. It covers the years 449-1 127, that is, the period 
from the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon conquest to nearly 
the close of the reign of the Norman king, Henry I. 
The earHer part of the work does not add very much to 
our knowledge, but from 1066 onward much material 
of historical interest can be gleaned from its pages. 

38. Negotiations of William and Harold 2 

After the death of Edward the Confessorj England, fluctuat- 
ing with doubtful favor, was uncertain to which ruler she should 
commit herself: to Harold, William, or Edgar: ^ for the king 
had recommended the last-mentioned also to the nobility, as 
nearest to the sovereignty in point of birth. Wherefore the 

1 William of Malmesbury^s Chronicle of the Kings of England, the translation 
by John Sharpe, revised by J. A. Giles. London, 1847. George Bell and Sons. 

2 William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum Anglorum, bk. iii. 

^ Edgar, called the ^Etheling, was a grandson of the English king Edmund Iron- 

72 William the Conqueror 

English were distracted in their choice, although all of them 
openly wished well to Harold. He, indeed, once dignified 
with the diadem, thought nothing of the covenant between 
himself and William. He said that he was absolved from his 
oath, because William's daughter, to whom he had been be- 
trothed, had died before she was marriageable. . . . Moreover, 
supposing that the threats of William would never be put into 
execution, because he was occupied in wars with neighboring 
princes, Harold had, with his subjects, given full indulgence 
to security. Indeed, if he had not heard that the king of Nor- 
way was approaching, he would neither have condescended 
to collect troops nor to array them. 

William, in the meantime, began mildly to address him by 
messengers; to expostulate on the broken covenant; to mingle 
threats with entreaties; and to warn him that, ere a year ex- 
pired, he would claim his due by the sword. . . . Harold again 
rejoined what I have related concerning the nuptials of his 
daughter and added that William had been precipitate on 
the subject of the kingdom, in having confirmed to him by 
oath another's right, without the universal consent and edict 
of the Witenagemot and of the people; and, finally, that a rash 
oath ought to be broken. ... In this way, confounded by either 
true or plausible arguments, the messengers returned without 

39. Landing of the Normans in England ^ 

At that time the prudence of William, seconded by the 
providence of God, already anticipated the invasion of England ; 
and that no rashness might stain his just cause, he sent to the 
pope, formerly Anselm, bishop of Lucca, who had assumed the 
name of Alexander, alleging the justice of the war which he 
meditated with all the eloquence of which he was master. 
Harold omitted to do this, either because he was proud by 
nature or else distrusted his cause; or because he feared that his 
messengers would be obstructed by William and his partisans, 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesia re gum Anglorwn, bk. iii. 

Landing of the Normans in England 73 

who beset every port. Pope Alexander, duly examining the 
pretensions of both parties, delivered a standard to William, 
as an auspicious presage of the kingdom. After receiving the 
standard, William summoned an assembly of his nobles for 
the purpose of ascertaining their sentiments on the proposed 
invasion. And when he had confirmed, by splendid promises, 
all who approved his design, he appointed them to prepare 
shipping, in proportion to the extent of their possessions. 
Thus they departed at that time; and in the month of August 
reassembled in a body at St. Vallery, for so that port is called 
by its new name. 

Collecting, therefore, ships from every quarter, they awaited 
the propitious gale which was to carry them to their destination. 
When this delayed blowing for several days, the common 
soldiers, as is generally the case, began to mutter in their tents. 
They declared that a man who wished to subjugate a foreign 
country must be mad; that God, who opposed him, withheld 
the wind; that his father purposed a similar attempt and was 
in like manner frustrated; and that it was the fate of William's 
family to aspire to things beyond their reach and find God 
their adversary. In consequence of these things being publicly 
noised abroad, William held a council with his chiefs and ordered 
the body of St. Vallery to be brought forth and to be exposed 
to the open air, for the purpose of imploring a wind. No delay 
now interposed, but the wished-for-gale filled their sails. A 
joyful clam.or then summoned every one to the ships. 

William himself, after first launching from the shore into 
the deep, awaited the rest, at anchor, nearly in mid-channel. 
All then assembled round the crimson sail of the admiral's 
ship; and, after a favorable passage, arrived at Hastings.^ 
As he disembarked he slipped down, but turned the accident 
to his advantage, for a soldier who stood near called out to 
him, "You hold England, my lord, its future king." He then 
restrained his whole army from plundering; warning them 
that they should now abstain from what must hereafter be their 

1 William landed at Pevensey, near Hastings, on September 28, io66. 

74 William the Conqueror 

own; and for fifteen successive days he remained so perfectly 
quiet that he seemed to think of nothing less than of war. 

40. The Battle of Hastings i 

In the meantime Harold returned from the battle with the 
Norwegians,^ happy at having conquered. . . . When the news 
of the arrival of the Normans reached him, he proceeded to 
Hastings, though accompanied by very few forces. No doubt 
the fates urged him on, as he neither summoned his troops, 
nor, had he been willing to do so, would he have found many 
ready to obey his call; so hostile were all to him, because he 
had appropriated the northern spoils entirely to himself. He 
sent out some persons, however, to reconnoiter the number 
and strength of the enemy. When these were captured and taken 
within the camp, William ordered them to be led among the 
tents, and after feasting them plentifully, to be sent back unin- 
jured to their lord. 

On their return, Harold inquired what news they brought. 
After relating what had befallen them, they added that almost 
all of William's army had the appearance of priests, as they had 
the whole face, with both lips, shaven. For the English leave 
the upper lip unshorn, suffering the hair continually to increase; 
which Julius Caesar, in his treatise on the Gallic War, affirms 
to have been a national custom with the ancient inhabitants 
of Britain. Harold smiled at the simplicity of the relators, 
observing, with a pleasant laugh, that they were not priests, 
but soldiers, strong in arms and invincible in spirit. 

Harold's brother. Girth, a youth on the verge of manhood, 
and of knowledge and valor surpassing his years, caught up 
his words: "Since," said he, "you extol so much the valor of 
the Norman, I think it ill-advised for you, who are his inferior 
in strength, to contend with him. Nor can you deny being 
bound to him by oath, either willingly or by compulsion. 
Wherefore you will act wisely, if you withdraw from this press- 

» William of Malmesbury, Gesta regiim Anglorum, bk. iii. 
2 This was the battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire. 

The Battle of Hastings 75 

ing emergency and allow us to try the issue of a battle. We, 
who are free from all obligation, shall justly draw the sword 
in defense of our country. If you engage, it is to be feared 
that you will be either subjected to flight or to death. If we 
alone light, your cause will be safe at all events, for you will 
be able both to rally the fugitives and to avenge the dead." 

•The unbridled rashness of Harold yielded no placid ear to 
the words of his adviser. He thought it base, and a reproach 
to his past life, to turn his back on danger of any kind. With 
similar impudence, or to speak more favorably, imprudence, 
he drove away a monk, the messenger of William, not deign- 
ing him even a complacent look and swearing that God would 
decide between himself and the duke. The monk was the 
bearer of three propositions: either that Harold should relin- 
quish the kingdom, according to his agreement; or hold it of 
William; or decide the matter by single combat in the sight 
of either army. For William claimed the kingdom on the 
ground that King Edward, by the advice of Stigand the arch- 
bishop and of the earls Godwin and Siward, had granted it to 
him, and had sent the son and nephew of Godwin to Normandy 
as sureties of the grant. If Harold should deny this, he would 
abide by the judgment of the pope, or by battle. William's 
messenger, being frustrated by the single answer to all of these 
propositions, returned and communicated to his party fresh 
spirit for the conflict. 

The courageous leaders prepared for battle, each according 
to his national custom. The English passed the night ^ without 
sleep, in drinking and singing; and in the morning proceeded 
without delay against the enemy. All were on foot and were 
armed with battle-axes. Covering themselves in front by the 
junction of their shields, they formed an impenetrable body. 
They would have secured their safety that day had not the 
Normans, by a pretended flight, induced them to open their 
ranks. . . . King Harold himself stood with his brothers near 
the standard, in order that, while all shared equal danger, 

1 Friday night, October 13, 1066. 

76 William the Conqueror 

none might think of retreating. This same standard William 
sent, after his victory, to the pope. . . . 

The Normans passed the whole night in confessing their 
sins and received the sacrament in the morning. Their infantry, 
with bows and arrows, formed the vanguard, while their 
cavalry occupied the rear. Duke William, declaring that God 
would favor his side, called for his arms. When, through the 
haste of his attendants, he had put on his hauberk ^ the rear 
part before, he corrected the mistake with a laugh, saying, 
''My dukedom shall be turned into a kingdom." Then, begin- 
ning to chant the Song of Roland,^ and calling on God for 
assistance, the Normans engaged their foes. 

They fought with ardor, neither side yielding ground, for 
the great part of the day. William now gave a signal to his 
troops that, by pretending flight, they should retreat. Through 
this device the close body of the English, opening for the pur- 
pose of cutting down the straggling enemy, brought upon itself 
swift destruction. For the Normans, facing about, attacked 
them, thus disordered, and compelled them to flee. In this 
manner, deceived by a stratagem, they met an honorable death 
in avenging their country; nor indeed were they at all without 
their own revenge, since, by frequently making a stand, they 
slaughtered their pursuers in heaps. . . . This alternation of 
first one party conquering, and then the other, prevailed as 
long as the life of Harold continued, but when he fell, his brain 
having been pierced with an arrow, the flight of the Enghsh 
ceased not until night. 

In this battle the valor of both leaders was eminently con- 
spicuous. Harold, not content with the duty of a general in 
exhorting others, diligently assumed every duty of a soldier. 
He would often strike the enemy when coming to close quarters, 
so that none would approach him with impunity; for imme- 
diately the same blow leveled both horse and rider. But, as 
I have related, after receiving the fatal arrow from a distance, 
he yielded to death. One of the Normans gashed his thigh 

^ A coat of mail made of interwoven metal rings. 2 gee page 160. 

English and Norman Customs 77 

with a sword, as he lay prostrate; for which shameful and 
cowardly action the Norman was branded with ignominy by 
WilUam and dismissed from the army. William was equally 
ready to encourage his soldiers by his voice and by his pres- 
ence, and to be the first to rush forward to attack where the 
foe was thickest. Three choice horses were that day killed 
under him. The dauntless spirit and vigor of the intrepid 
leader still persisted, however, . . . till approaching night 
crowned him with complete victory. No doubt the hand of 
God so protected him, that the enemy should draw no blood 
from his person, though they aimed many javelins at him. 

41. English and Norman Customs ^ 

Before the coming of the Normans the English had adopted 
the customs of the Anglo-Saxons. These people at first were 
barbarians, warlike in their usages and heathen in their rites; 
but, after embracing the faith of Christ, they gave their whole 
attention to religion. . . . What shall I say of the multitude of 
bishops, hermits, and abbots? Does not the whole island blaze 
with such numerous relics of its natives, that you can scarcely 
pass a village of any consequence without hearing the name of 
some new saint? And of how many more has all remembrance 
perished, because of the absence of written records? 

Nevertheless, the devotion to literature and religion had 
gradually declined for several years before the arrival of the 
Normans. The clergy, contented with a very slight degree 
of learning, could scarcely stammer out the words of the sacra- 
ments; and a person who understood grammar was an object 
of wonder and astonishment. The monks mocked the rule of 
their order by fine vestments and the use of every kind of food. 
The nobility, given up to luxury and wantonness, went not 
to church in the morning after the manner of Christians, but 
merely, in a careless manner, heard matins and masses from a 
hurrying priest in their chambers. The common people, left 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesta regtim Anglorum, bk. iii. 

78 William the Conqueror 

unprotected, became a prey to the most powerful, who amassed 
fortunes, by either seizing their property or by selling their 
persons into foreign countries. . . . 

The English at this time wore short garments reaching to 
the knee; they had their hair cropped, their beards shaven, 
their arms laden with golden bracelets, and their skin adorned 
with tattooed designs. They were accustomed to eat till they 
became surfeited, and to drink till they were sick. These 
latter customs they imparted to their conquerors; as to the rest, 
they adopted the manners of the Normans. I would not, how- 
ever, have these bad propensities universally ascribed to the 
English. I know that many of the clergy trod the path of 
sanctity by a blameless life; I know that many of the laity, 
of all ranks and conditions, were well-pleasing to God. In- 
justice is far from my design; my accusation does not involve 
the whole people indiscriminately. , . . 

The Normans were at this time, and are even now, proudly 
appareled and finical in their food, but not great eaters. 
They are a people inured to war, and can hardly live without 
it; fierce in rushing against the enemy, and, where force fails 
to succeed, ready to use stratagems or to corrupt by bribery. 
They live in large edifices with economy; envy their superiors, 
wish to excel their equals, and plunder their subjects, though 
they defend them from others; they are faithful to their lords, 
but a slight offense renders them perfidious. They weigh 
treachery by its chance of success, and change their sentiments 
for money. They are, however, the most hospitable of people, 
and esteem strangers worthy of equal honor with themselves. 
They also intermarry with their vassals. The Normans re- 
vived, by their arrival, the observances of religion, which had 
everywhere grown lifeless in England. You might see churches 
rise in every village, and monasteries in the towns and cities, 
built after a style unknown before; you might behold the coun- 
try flourishing with renovated rites; so that each wealthy man 
accounted that day lost to him which he had neglected to signal- 
ize by some worthy act. 

William's Character * 79 

42. William's Character 1 

Above all, he was humble to the servants of God, affable 
to the obedient and inexorable to the rebellious. He attended 
the offices of the Christian religion, as much as a layman was 
able to do; so that he was present at daily mass and heard 
vespers and matins. He built one monastery in England and 
another in Normandy. . . . No sinister means profited a bishop 
in those days; nor could an abbot procure advancement by 
purchase. He who had the best report for undeviating sanctity 
was most honored and most esteemed. William built another 
monastery near Hastings, dedicated to St. Martin. It was 
also called Battle Abbey, because there the principal church 
stands on the very spot, where, as they report, Harold was 
found in the thickest heaps of the slain. 

King William kindly admitted foreigners to his friendship, 
bestowed honors on them without distinction, and was atten- 
tive to almsgiving. He also gave many possessions in England 
to foreign churches, and scarcely did his own munificence, or 
that of his nobility, leave any monastery unnoticed, more espe- 
cially in Normandy. . . . Thus, in his time the monastic flock 
increased on every side and monasteries arose, ancient in their 
rule but modern in building. . . . 

The king was of just stature, of extraordinary corpulence, 
and of fierce countenance. His forehead was bare of hair. He 
was of such great strength of arm that it was often matter of 
surprise that no one was able to draw his bow, which he himself 
could bend when his horse was at full gallop. He was majestic, 
whether silting or standing; of excellent health, so that he was 
never confined with any dangerous disorder, except at the last; 
and passionately devoted to the pleasures of the chase. ... He 
gave sumptuous and splendid entertainments at the principal 
festivals; passing Christmas at Gloucester, Easter at Winchester, 
and Pentecost at Westminster. At these times a royal edict 
summoned thither all the principal persons of every order, 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesla regum Anglorum, bk. iii. 

8o * William the Conqueror 

that the ambassadors from foreign nations might admire the 
splendor of the assemblage and the costUness of the banquets. 
Nor was he at any time more affable or indulgent; in order that 
his guests might proclaim universally how his generosity kept 
pace with his riches. . . . 

His anxiety for money is the only thing for which he can 
deservedly be blamed. Money he sought all opportunities of 
scraping together, he cared not how; he would say and do almost 
anything, where the hope of money allured him. I have here 
no excuse whatever to offer, unless it be, as some one has said, 
that "Of necessity, he must fear many, whom many fear." 
For, through dread of his enemies, he used to drain the country 
of money, with which he might retard or repel their attacks; 
very often, where strength failed, purchasing the forbearance 
of his enemies with gold. 

43. Death of William i 

In the month of August, 1087, when the corn was ripe on 
the ground, the clusters on the vines, and the orchards laden 
with fruit in full abundance, he collected an army and entered 
France in a hostile manner, trampling down and laying every- 
thing waste. ... At last he set fire to the city of Maintes, 
where the church of St. Mary was burnt, together with a recluse 
who did not think it justifiable to quit her cell even under such 
an emergency; and the whole property of the citizens was 
destroyed. Exhilarated by this success, while furiously com- 
manding his people to add fuel to the conflagration, he ap- 
proached too near the flames, and contracted a disprder from 
the violence of the fire and the intenseness of the autumnal 
heat. Some say that his horse, leaping over a dangerous ditch, 
inflicted on him an internal injury. William sounded a retreat 
and returned to Rouen. As the malady increased, he took to 
his bed. His physicians, when consulted, affirmed that death 
was inevitable. On hearing this, he filled the house with his 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum Anglorum, bk. iii. 

Death of William 8i 

lamentation, because death had suddenly seized him before he 
could effect that reformation of his life which he had long medi- 

Recovering his fortitude, however, William performed the 
duties of a Christian in confession and received the communion. 
Reluctantly, and by compulsion, he bestowed Normandy on 
his son Robert; to William he gave England; while Henry 
obtained his maternal possessions. He ordered all his prisoners 
to be released and pardoned, and his treasures to be brought 
forth and distributed to the churches. He also gave a certain 
sum of money to repair the church which had been burnt. 
Thus rightly ordering all things, he departed this life on the 
sixth of September, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. . . . 

His body, embalmed after royal custom, was brought down 
the river Seine to Caen, and there consigned to the earth. A 
large number of the clergy attended the funeral, but few of the 
laity were present. Here might be seen the wretchedness of 
earthly vicissitude; for the man who was formerly the glory 
of all Europe, and more powerful than any of his predecessors, 
could not find a place of everlasting rest, without contention. 
A certain knight, to whose patrimony the place pertained, 
loudly exclaiming at the robbery, forbade the burial. He said 
that the ground belonged to himself by inheritance; and that 
the king had no claim to rest in a place which he had forcibly 
invaded. Whereupon, at the desire of Henry, the only one 
of his sons who was present, a hundred pounds of silver were 
paid to settle this audacious claim. 



A LITTLE book in Latin, written by an inmate of the 
Benedictine monastery of St. Edmundsbury, presents a 
vivid picture of monastic life in medieval England. Of 
Jocelin, the author, we know almost nothing, except 
that he held several minor ofhces in the monastery and 
thus came into intimate relations with Samson, its abbot. 
Samson is the central figure and, so to speak, the hero of 
Jocelin's story. ''l have undertaken," he declares in 
his preface, "to write of those things which I have seen 
and heard . . . and I have related the evil as a warning 
and the good for an example." 

44. The Choice of an Abbot ^ 

The abbacy being vacant, we often made suppHcation unto 
the Lord and to the blessed martyr, Edmund, that they would 
give us and our church a fit pastor. Three times in each week 
did we prostrate ourselves in the choir and sing seven peniten- 
tial psalms. And there were some who would not have been 
so earnest in their prayers, if they had known who was to become 
abbot. As to the choice of an abbot, if the king ^ should grant 
us free election, there was much difference of opinion, some of 
it openly expressed, some of it privately; and every man had 
his own ideas. 

One said of a certain brother, "He, that brother, is a good 

1 The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, Monk of St. Edmundsbury, translated 
by L. C. Jane. London, 1907. Chatto and Windus. 

2 Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, pp. 16-20. 

3 Henry II, 1154-1189. 

The Choice of an Abbot 83 

monk, a likely person. He knows much of St. Benedict's 
Rule and of the customs of the Church. It is true that he is 
not so profoundly wise as are some others, but he is quite cap- 
able of being abbot. Abbot Ording was illiterate, and yet he 
was a good abbot and ruled this house wisely; and one reads 
in the fable that the frogs did better to elect a log to be their 
king than a serpent, who devoured his subjects." Another 
answered, "How could this thing be? How could one who 
does not know letters preach in the chapter, or to the people 
on feast days? How could one who does not know the Scrip- 
tures have the knowledge of binding and loosing? For the 
rule of souls is the art of arts, the highest form of knowledge. 
God forbid that a dumb idol be set up in the church of St. 
Edmund, where many men are to be found who are learned 
and industrious." 

Again, one said of another, "That brother is a literate man, 
eloquent and prudent, and strict in his observance of the Rule. 
He loves the monastery greatly and has suffered many ills 
for the good of the Church. He is worthy to be made abbot." 
Another answered, "From good clerks deliver us, O Lord!" 

And again, one said of another, "That brother is a good hus- 
bandman; this is proved by the state of his office, and from the 
positions in which he has served, and from the buildings and 
repairs which he has effected. He is v/ell able to work and to 
defend the House, and he is something of a scholar, though too 
much learning has not made him mad. He is worthy of the 
abbacy." Another answered, "God forbid that a man who 
can neither read nor sing nor celebrate the holy office, a man 
who is dishonest and unjust, and who treats poor men in evil 
fashion, should be made abbot." 

Again, one said of another, "That brother is a kindly man, 
friendly and amiable, peaceful and calm, generous and liberal, 
a learned and eloquent man, and proper enough in face and 
gait. He is beloved of rriany within and without the walls, 
and such a one might become abbot to the great honor of the 
Church, if God wills." Another answered, "It is no credit, but 

84 Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century 

rather a disgrace, for a man to be too particular as to what he 
eats and drinks, to think it a virtue to sleep much, to know well 
how to spend and to know little how to gain, to snore while 
others keep vigil, to wish ever to have abundance, and not to 
trouble when debts daily increase, or when money spent brings 
no return; to be one who hates anxiety and toil, caring noth- 
ing while one day passes and another dawns; to be one who 
loves and cherishes flatterers and liars; to be one man in 
word and another in deed. From such a prelate the Lord 
deliver us! " 

And again, one said of his friend, "That man is almost wiser 
than all of us, both in secular and in ecclesiastical matters. 
He is a man skilled in counsel, strict in the Rule, learned and 
eloquent, and noble in stature; such a prelate would become 
our Church." Another answered, "That would be true, if 
he were a man of good and approved repute. But his character 
has been questioned, perhaps falsely, perhaps rightly. And 
though the man is wise, humble in the chapter, devoted to 
the singing of psalms, strict in his conduct in the cloister while 
he is a cloistered monk, this is only from force of habit. For 
if he have authority in any oflice, he is too scornful, holding 
monks of no account, and being on familar terms with secular 
men, and if he be angry, he will scarce say a word willingly 
to any brother, even in answer to a question." 

I heard in truth another brother abused by some because he 
had an impediment in his speech, and it was said of him that 
he had pastry in his mouth when he should have spoken. I 
myself said that I would not consent that anyone should be 
made abbot unless he understood something of logic, and knew 
how to distinguish the true from the false. One, moreover, 
who was wise in his own eyes, said, "May Almighty God give 
us a fooHsh and stupid pastor, that he may be driven to use our 
help." And I heard, forsooth, that one monk, who was indus- 
trious, learned, and preeminent for his high birth, was abused 
by some of the older men because he was a novice. The novices 
said of their elders that they were invahd old men and little 

Samson Elected Abbot 85 

capable of ruling an abbey. * And so many men said many 
things, and every man was fully persuaded in his own mind. 

45. Samson Elected Abbot ^ 

After much discussion a deputation of monks, led by the cellarer, 
Dennis, proceeded to the king's court and presented their nominations 
to the abbacy. The choice had narrowed down to two men, either 
the prior or the subsacristan, Samson. 

Dennis, speaking as one for all, began to commend the per- 
sons of the prior and Samson. He said that they were both 
learned men, both good, both praiseworthy in their lives and 
of unblemished reputation. But ever at the climax of his 
speech he put forward Samson, multiplying words in his praise, 
saying that he was a man strict in his conduct, stern in correct- 
ing faults, apt for labor, prudent in temporal matters, and 
experienced in various positions. 

Then the bishop of Winchester answered, "We know well 
what you would say; from your words we gather that your 
prior has appeared to you to be somewhat slack, and that you 
wish to have him who is called Samson." Dennis answered, 
"Both of them are good men, but we desire to have the better, 
if God wills." Thereupon the bishop said, "Of two good things, 
the greater good should be selected. Say openly, do you desire 
to have Samson?" And many, and they a majority, answered 
plainly, "We wish to have Samson," and none spoke against 
him. Some, however, were silent from caution, wishing to 
offend neither candidate. 

Then Samson was nominated in the presence of the king, 
and when the king had consulted with his men for a while, all 
were summoned before him. And the king said, "You have 
presented to me Samson. I know him not. If you had pre- 
sented your prior to me, I would have accepted him, for I 
have known him. But I will only do what you will. Take heed 
to yourselves; by the true eyes of God, if you do ill, I will 
exact a recompense at your hands." 

1 Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, pp. 34-36. 

86 Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century 

Then he asked the prior if he assented to the choice and wished 
it, and the prior answered that he did wish it and that Samson 
was worthy of much greater honor. Therefore Samson was 
elected, and fell at the king's feet and embraced them. Then 
he arose quickly and hastened to the altar, with his head erect 
and without changing his expression, chanting the Miserere 
mei, Deus with the brothers. 

And when the king saw this, he said to those that stood by, 
"By the eyes of God, this man thinks that he is worthy to rule 
the abbey." 

46. Samson's Rule of the Monastery ^ 

In those days I was prior's chaplain, and within four months 
was made chaplain to the abbot. And I noted many things 
and committed them to memory. So, on the morrow of his 
feast, the abbot assembled the prior and some few others to- 
gether, as if to seek advice from others, but he himself knew 
what he would do. 

He said that a new seal must be made and adorned with an 
effigy of himself, though his predecessors had not had such a 
seal. For a time, however, he used the seal of our prior, 
writing at the end of all letters that he did so for the time being 
because he had no seal of his own. And afterwards he ordered 
his household, and transferred various officials to other posts, 
saying that he proposed to maintain twenty-six horses in his 
court, and many times he declared that "a child must first 
crawl, and afterwards he may stand upright and walk." And 
he laid this special command upon his servants, that they should 
take care that he might not be laid open to the charge of not 
providing enough food and drink, but that they should assid- 
uously provide for the maintenance of the hospitality of the 

In these matters, and in all the things which he did and 
determined, he trusted fully in the help of God and his own 
good sense, holding it to be shameful to rely upon the counsel 

1 Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, pp. 40-41. 

Complaints against Samson's Rule 87 

of another and thinking he was sufficient unto himself. The 
monks marveled and the knights were angered; they blamed 
his pride, and often defamed him at the court of the king, say- 
ing that he would not act in accordance with the advice of his 
freemen. He himself put away from his privy council all the 
great men of the abbey, both lay and literate, men without 
whose advice and assistance it seemed impossible that the 
abbey could be ruled. For this reason Ranulf de Glanvill, 
justiciar of England, was at first offended with him and was 
less well-disposed toward him than was expedient, until he 
knew well from definite proofs that the abbot acted providently 
and prudently, both in domestic and in external affairs. 

47. Complaints against Samson's Rule ^ 

Many of Samson's adversaries raised objections to his rule 
of the monastery. They said that he received what he would 
from the sacristry, and spared his own money, and allowed 
his wheat to lie in the barns until such time as the price should 
be high. They said that he managed his manors in a way 
different from that of his predecessors. They also complained 
that he burdened his cellarer with guests who should rather 
have been received by the abbot, so that the abbot might win 
repute as a wise man and one who was clever and provident at 
the end of the year, but the monastery and its officials be 
thought ignorant and wasteful. 

To these charges I used to answer that if he took anything 
from the sacristry, he employed it for the use of the Church; 
and that no envious persons could deny this. And, to speak 
the truth, more good and much greater good was done with the 
offerings of the sacristry during the fifteen years after Samson's 
election than in the forty years preceding. 

To the others who objected that the abbot went often to 
his manors, I was wont to answer and to excuse him by say- 
ing that the abbot was happier and in better spirits anywhere 

1 Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, pp. 54-57. 

88 Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century 

than at home. This also was the truth, whether on account 
of the constant complaints which came to him, or on account 
of those who told him rumors concerning himself. Accord- 
ingly, it often happened that his appearance was stern, 
and that consequently he lost much favor and grace 
with the guests, though he satisfied them with food and 
drink. . . . 

On one occasion I said to him, ''Lord, I heard you this night 
keeping watch after matins and breathing heavily, contrary 
to your wont." And he answered, 'Tt is not strange. You 
share my good things, food, little of the toil of providing for 
the house and household, of the many and arduous labors 
which are a pastor's care. These make me anxious and cause 
me to groan and to be troubled in spirit." Thereupon I raised 
my hands to heaven and answered, "From such great anxiety, 
almighty and merciful Lord, dehver me!" 

I heard the abbot say that if he were in that condition in 
which he had been before he became a monk, and had a small 
income wherewith he might support himself in the schools, 
he would never become either monk or abbot. And on another 
occasion, he said that had he known beforehand what care 
there was, he would far rather have been almoner or librarian 
than abbot and lord. And he declared that he had ever longed 
for the post of librarian above all others. Yet who would be- 
lieve such things? Not I; no, not I; but that as I lived with 
him day and night for six years, I know fully the merit of his 
life and the wisdom of his mind. 

48. Appearance and Character of Abbot Samson ^ 

He was below the average height, almost bald; his face 
was neither round nor oblong; his nose was prominent and his 
lips thick; his eyes were clear and his glance penetrating; his 
hearing was excellent; his eyebrows arched, and frequently 
shaved; and a little cold soon made him hoarse. ... In his 

1 Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, pp. 62-65. 

Appearance and Character of Abbot Samson 89 

ruddy beard there were a few gray hairs, and still fewer in his 
black and curling hair. But in the course of the first 
fourteen years after his election, all his hair became white 
as snow. 

He was an exceedingly temperate man; he possessed great 
energy and a strong constitution, and was fond both of riding 
and walking, until old age prevailed upon him and moderated 
his ardor in these respects. When he heard the news of the 
capture of the cross and the fall of Jerusalem,^ he began to 
wear under-garments made of horse hair, and a horse-hair 
shirt, and gave up the use of meat. None the less, he willed 
that meat should be placed before him as he sat at table, that 
the alms might be increased. He ate sweet milk, honey, and 
similar sweet things far more readily than any other food. 

He hated liars, drunkards, and talkative persons; for virtue 
ever loves itself and spurns that which is contrary to it. He 
blamed those who grumbled about their meat and drink, and 
especially monks who so grumbled, and personally kept to the 
same manners which he had observed when he was a clois- 
tered monk. Moreover, he had this virtue in himself that he 
never desired to change the dish which was placed before him. 
When I was a novice, I wished to prove whether this was really 
true, and as I happened to serve in the refectory, I thought to 
place before him food which would have offended any other 
man, in a very dirty and broken dish. But when he saw this, 
he was as if bhnd to it. Then, as there was some delay, I re- 
pented of what I had done and straightway seized the dish, 
changed the food and dish for better, and carried it to him. 
He, however, was angry at the change, and disturbed. 

He was an eloquent man, speaking both French and Latin, but 
rather careful of the good sense of that which he had to say 
than of the style of his words. . . . 

The abbot further appeared to prefer the active to the con- 
templative life, and praised good officials more than good monks. 

^ The capture of Jerusalem by Saladin occurred in 1187. This event led to 
the Third Crusade. See page 100. 

90 Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century 

He rarely commended anyone solely on account of his knowledge 
of letters, unless the man happened to have knowledge of secu- 
lar affairs. If he chanced to hear of any prelate who had 
given up his pastoral work and become a hermit, he did not 
praise him for this. He would not praise men who were too 
kindly; saying, "He who strives to please all men, deserves to 
please none." 



The sources for the life of St. Francis and for early 
Franciscan history are very numerous. In the first 
place, we possess some writings by St. Francis himself, 
including the Rule, or constitution, which he drew up 
for the guidance of his followers, the Will, which he pre- 
pared just before his death, and various poems, sermons, 
and letters. Then there are several biographies of St. 
Francis. These were written in the thirteenth century 
by his intimate companions. Still another source, semi- 
biographical in character, is called the Little Flowers of 
St. Francis. It is an enlarged Italian translation of a 
Latin original compiled in the thirteenth century. The 
names of both author and translator remain unknown. 
In spite of the fact that the Little Flowers includes much 
apocryphal matter, there is probably no other Franciscan 
work which presents so well the simplicity, purity, and 
loftiness of thought- characteristic of the saint and his 

49. Conversion of Friar Bernard ^ 

The first companion of St. Francis was Friar Bernard of 
Assisi, who was converted in this manner: St. Francis, while 
yet in the secular habit, although he had already renounced 
the world and went about being wholly held in scorn of men, 
mortifying his flesh by penances, so that by many he was thought 

1 The Little Flowers of St. Francis, translated by T. W. Arnold. London, 1898. 
J. M. Dent and Sons. 

2 Fioretti di San Francesco, ch. ii. 

92 St. Francis and the Franciscans 

foolish and was mocked at as a mad fellow and was driven away 
with stones and foul abuse by his kinsfolk and by strangers, 
nevertheless bore himself patiently amid all manner of igno- 
miny and reproach, as though he were deaf and dumb. Now 
Bernard of Assisi, who was one of the noblest and richest and 
wisest in the city, began to take heed unto St. Francis, how 
exceeding strong his contempt of the world, how great his 
patience in the midst of wrongs, so that although for a two years' 
space thus hated and despised by all men he ever seemed the 
more constant. Then Bernard began to ponder and to say 
within himself, "This brother hath abundant grace from God"; 
so he invited him one evening to sup and lodge with him; and 
St. Francis consented thereto and supped with him and lodged. 

And thereat Bernard set it in his heart to watch his sanctity; 
wherefore he had made ready for him a bed in his own proper 
chamber, in which at night time a lamp ever burned. And 
St. Francis, to hide his sanctity, when he came into the chamber 
threw himself immediately upon the bed and made as though 
he slept; and likewise Bernard after some short space set him- 
self to lie down and fell to snoring loudly, as one wrapped in 
deepest slumber. Wherefore St. Francis, thinking truly that 
Bernard was asleep, rose from his bed and set himself to pray, 
lifting up his hands and eyes unto heaven, and with exceeding 
great devotion and fervor said, "My God, my God." And 
thus he abode till morning, always repeating, "My God, my 
God," and naught beside; and this St. Francis said, while 
musing on and marveling at the excellence of the Divine Majesty, 
which deigned to stoop down to a perishing world and through 
his little poor one, St. Francis, purposed to bring a remedy for 
the salvation of his soul and the souls of others. . . . 

Bernard seeing, by the light of the lamp, the most pious 
acts of St. Francis, and devoutly pondering in his mind the 
words that he spoke, was touched and inspired by the Holy 
Spirit to change his life. In the morning, therefore, he called 
St. Francis and said to him, "Friar Francis, I am wholly 
purposed in my heart to leave the world and follow thee in 

Conversion of Friar Bernard 93 

whatsoever thou mayest bid me." Hearing this, St. Francis 
rejoiced in spirit and said, "Bernard, this that thou sayest 
is a tack so great and difficult that we must seek counsel of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, and beseech Him that He be pleased 
to show us His will therein and teach us how we may bring 
it of pass. Therefore let us go to the bishop's house, wherein 
is a good priest, and let us hear the mass said; then let us 
continue in prayer until tierce,^ beseeching God that in thrice 
opening of the missal He may reveal to us the path it is 
His will we should elect." Bernard made answer that this 
pleased him right well. 

So they fared forth and came to the bishop's house: and after 
they had heard the mass and continued praying until tierce, 
the priest at the bidding of St. Francis took the missal, and 
making the sign of holy cross, opened it thrice in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. At the first opening appeared the words 
that Christ spoke in the Gospel to the young man who asked 
concerning the path of perfection: "If thou wilt be perfect, go 
and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor and follow me." 
At the second opening appeared those words that Christ spoke 
unto the Apostles when He sent them forth to preach: "Take 
nothing for your journey, neither staves nor scrip, neither 
shoes nor money." ... At the third opening of the missal 
appeared those words that Christ spoke: "If any man will 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and 
follow me." 

Then spoke St. Francis unto Bernard, "Behold the counsel 
that Christ giveth us; come then and fulfill that which thou 
hast heard; and blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath 
deigned to show forth His own life in the holy Gospel." Then 
Bernard went out and sold all that he had, and he was very 
rich; and with great joy he gave all his possessions to widows, 
to orphans, to prisoners, to monasteries, to hospices, and to 
pilgrims; and in all things St. Francis helped him faithfully 
and wisely. . . . 

1 The third of the canonical hours, or nine a.m. 

94 St. Francis and the Franciscans 

Bernard had such divine grace that oftentimes in con- 
templation he was caught up to God; and St. Francis said of 
him that he was worthy of all reverence, and that it was he that 
had founded this Order; inasmuch as he was the first to leave 
the world, keeping back naught for himself, but giving all 
unto the poor of Christ, and, when he took on him the Gospel 
poverty, offering himself naked in the arms of the Crucified, 
to whom be all praise and glory, world without end. Amen. 

50. Friar Bernard in Bologna ^ 

Seeing that St. Francis and his companions were called of 
God to bear the cross of Christ in their hearts and in their 
deeds, and to preach it with their tongues, they seemed to be 
and in truth were crucified, as far as regards their dress, the aus- 
terity of their lives, and their works. Therefore they desired 
the more to suffer shame and contumely for the love of Christ, 
rather than honor of the world and reverence and praise of 
men. In insults they rejoiced and at honors they grew sad; 
and so they passed through the world as strangers and pilgrims, 
bearing with them naught save Christ crucified. And since 
they were true branches of the true vine, that is, Christ, they 
brought forth great and good fruit in the souls they won for 

It happened in the beginning of the Order that St. Francis 
sent Friar Bernard to Bologna to the end that he might there, 
according to the grace that God had given him, bring forth 
fruit to God; and Friar Bernard, making the sign of the most 
holy cross, departed and came unto Bologna. And when the 
children saw him in poor and threadbare dress, they made much 
mock of him, as though he were a fool; but Friar Bernard with 
patience and with joy bore all things for the love of Christ; 
nay, of set purpose that he might be the more derided, betook 
himself to the market place of the city. While sitting there, 
many children and men came about him. Some plucked at 

1 Fioretti di San Francesco, ch, v. 

Friar Bernard in Bologna 95 

his hood; some pelted him with dust and some with stones; 
and some pushed him this way and others that. But Friar 
Bernard, continuing always with the same patience, neither 
complained nor changed at all, and for the space of many days 
returned to the same place, to suffer the same usage. And 
since patience is a work of perfection and proof of virtue, a 
learned doctor of the law, beholding and musing on the great 
constancy and virtue of Friar Bernard, how for so many days 
neither taunt nor contumely could disquiet him, said to him- 
self, "Of a surety this needs must be a holy man." Approach- 
ing him, he asked, "Who are thou? and wherefore art thou 
come hither?" 

Friar Bernard for reply put his hand into his bosom and 
drew forth the Rule of St. Francis, and gave it to him to read, 
and when he had read it, musing on its most lofty state of per- 
fection, he turned unto his companions and said, "Of a truth 
this is the highest state of religion whereof I have ever heard. 
This man and his companions are the holiest men in this world, 
and whoso does him wrong committeth a most grievous sin; 
most highly should we honor him, seeing that he is a true friend 
of God." And he said to Friar Bernard, "If it is your wish to 
found a friary, wherein you may serve God conveniently, with 
right good will, for the salvation of my soul, will I give it you." 
Friar Bernard replied, "Master, methinks our Lord Jesus 
Christ hath put this thought within your heart; and therefore 
for the honor of Christ I willingly accept your proffered gift." 
Then with great joy and love the said judge took Friar Bernard 
to his home; and gave him the promised friary and made it all 
ready and furnished it at his own expense. From that time 
forth he became the special protector of Friar Bernard and his 

Friar Bernard through his holy Hfe began to be much honored 
of the people, in such sort that whoso might touch and see him 
deemed himself blessed thereby; but he, like a true disciple of 
Christ and the humble St. Francis, fearing that the honor of 
the world might hinder the peace and salvation of his soul, 

96 St. Francis and the Franciscans 

on a day departed and returned unto St. Francis and spoke 
thus unto him, ''Father, the friary is founded in the city of 
Bologna; send brothers thither to maintain it and abide in it; 
since I have no more profit therein, nay, rather for the too 
great honor done to me I fear that I have lost even more than 
I have gained." St. Francis, learning all things in order, how 
God had worked through Friar Bernard, gave thanks to God, 
who thus was beginning to enlarge the poor little disciples of 
the cross; and then he sent some of his companions to Bologna 
and the parts of Lombardy, who founded many friaries in 
various places. 

51. Humility of St. Francis ^ 

Once when St. Francis abode in the friary of Portiuncula 
with Friar Masseo of Marignano, a man of much sanctity, 
discretion, and grave in speaking of God, he was returning one 
day from prayer in the wood, and being at the entrance to the 
wood. Friar Masseo desired to make proof of his humility and 
. . . said to him, "Why after thee? why after thee? why after 
thee?" And St. Francis rephed, "What is this thou wouldest 
say?" Said Friar Masseo, "I say, why doth all the world 
come after thee, and why is it that all men long to see thee, 
and hear thee, and obey thee? Thou art not a man comely 
of form, thou art not of much wisdom, thou art not noble of 
birth; whence comes it then that it is after thee that the whole 
world doth run?" 

Hearing this St. Francis, all overjoyed in spirit, lifting up his 
face unto heaven, stood for a great while with his mind up- 
lifted in God. And then ... he turned to Friar Masseo and 
said, "Wilt thou know why after me? wilt thou know why 
after me that the whole world doth run? This cometh unto me 
from the eyes of the most high God, which behold at all time 
the evil and the good; for those most holy eyes have seen 
among sinners none more vile, none more lacking than I am 
to do this marvelous work which He purposeth to do. He 

1 Fiorelti di San Francesco, ch. x. 

The Praise of Poverty 97 

hath not found upon the earth a creature more vile, and therefore 
hath He chosen me to confound the nobleness and the great- 
ness and the strength and the beauty and wisdom of the world; 
to the intent that men may know that all virtue and all good- 
ness come from Him, and not from the creature, and that no 
man may glory in himself; but may glory in the Lord, unto 
whom be honor forever and ever." Then Friar Masseo, at so 
humble a reply uttered with such great fervor, knew of a 
surety that St. Francis was rooted and grounded in humility. 

52. The Praise of Poverty ^ 

That wonderful servant and follower of Christ, St. Francis, 
to the end that he might in all things conform himself perfectly 
unto Christ, who sent his disciples forth by two and two unto 
all the cities and places where He was himself purposing to go; 
seeing that after the pattern of Christ he had gathered together 
twelve companions, sent them forth by two and two to preach 
throughout the world. And to give them an example of true 
obedience, he was himself the first to go, after the pattern of 
Christ who began to do before he taught. Having allotted to 
his companions the other parts of the world, he with Friar 
Masseo as his companion took the road that led to the land of 

Coming one day to a town sore hungered, they went, accord- 
ing to the Rule, begging their bread for the love of God; and 
St. Francis went by one street, and Friar Masseo by another. 
But because St. Francis was mean to look upon and small of 
stature, and was deemed thereby a vile beggar by whoso knew 
him not, he got by his begging naught save a few mouthfuls 
and scraps of dry bread; but to Friar Masseo, because he was 
tall and fair of form, were given large pieces of fresh bread. 
When they had done their begging, they met together to eat 
in a place outside the city, where was a fair fountain and near 
it a fine, broad stone; upon which each one set the alms that 
he had begged. 

>■ Fioretti di San Francesco, ch. xiii. 

98 St. Francis and the Franciscans 

St. Francis, seeing that Friar Masseo's pieces of bread were 
finer and larger than his own, rejoiced with great joy, and said, 
"O Friar Masseo, we are not worthy of such vast treasure." 
When he repeated many times these words. Friar Masseo 
made answer, "Father, how can one speak of treasure where 
is such poverty and lack of all things whereof there is need? 
Here is neither cloth, nor knife, nor plate, nor porringer, nor 
house, nor table, nor man-servant, nor maid-servant." Then 
said St. Francis, "And this it is that I account vast treasure, 
wherein is nothing at all prepared by human hands, but what- 
ever we have is given by God's own providence, as manifestly 
doth appear in the bread that we have begged, in the table of 
stone so fine, and in the fountain so clear; wherefore I will 
that we pray unto God that He make us love with all our 
heart the treasure of holy poverty, which is so noble that there- 
unto did God Himself become a servitor." 

53. St. Francis Preaches to the Bkds ^ 

As with great fervor he was going on the way, he lifted up 
his eyes and beheld some trees near the road, on which sat a 
great company of birds. St. Francis marveled at this and said 
to his companions, "Ye shall wait for me here upon the way and 
I will go to preach unto my little sisters, the birds." And he 
went to the field and began to preach unto the birds that were 
on the ground; and immediately those that were on the trees 
flew down to him, and all of them remained still and quiet 
together, until St. Francis made an end of preaching; and 
not even then did they depart, until he had given them his 
blessing. . . . 

The sermon that St. Francis preached unto them was after 
this fashion: "My httle sisters, the birds, beholden are ye unto 
God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise 
Him, because He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, 
and hath also given you double and triple raiment; moreover, 

1 Fioretti di San Francesco, ch. xvi. 

St. Francis Preaches to the Birds 


He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might 
not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him 
for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; 
beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God 
feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your 
drink; the mountains and the valleys for your refuge and the 
high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know 
not how to spin or sew, God clotheth you; wherefore your 
Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on 
you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware 
of the sin of ingratitude and study always to give praises unto 

When St. Francis spoke these words to them, the birds 
began to open their beaks, and stretch their necks, and spread 
their wings, and reverently bend their heads down to the ground, 
and by their acts and by their songs to show that the holy 
friar gave them joy exceeding great. And St. Francis rejoiced 
with them, and was glad, and marveled much at so great 
a company of birds and their most beautiful diversity and their 
good heed and sweet friendhness, for which things he devoutly 
praised their Creator in them. 



Many European chroniclers, English, French, and 
German, have described the Third Crusade and have 
related the exploits of its principal hero, Richard the 
Lion-hearted. One of the most important accounts is 
the Itinerary of King Richard. It is believed to have 
been composed by a certain Richard de Templo, canon 
of Holy Trinity Church, London. The author of the 
Itinerary declares that the notes for his book were drawn 
up -amid the din of battles and the stir of martial camps. 
The work professes, therefore, to be a narrative by an 
eye-witness to the things mentioned in it. This state- 
ment must be received with caution, for Richard de 
Templo appears to have borrowed heavily from an 
Anglo-Norman poem dealing with the deeds of the Eng- 
lish king in the Holy Land. 

54. Personality of Richard 2 

He had the courage of Hector, the magnanimity of Achilles, 
and was equal to Alexander and not inferior to Roland ^ in 
valor; nay, he outshone many illustrious characters of our 
own times. The liberality of a Titus ^ was his, and, which is 
so rarely found in a soldier, he was gifted with the eloquence 
of Nestor and the prudence of Ulysses; and he showed himself 
preeminent in the conclusion and transaction of business, as 

1 Chronicles of the Crusades. London, 1848. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Itinerarium Regis Ricardi, bk. ii, ch. 5. 3 gee page 160. 
^ Roman emperor, 79-81 a.d. 

Capture of Acre loi 

one whose knowledge was not without active goodwill to aid 
it, nor his goodwill wanting in knowledge. Who, if Richard 
were accused of presumption, could not readily excuse him, 
knowing him for a man who never acknowledged defeat, im- 
patient of an injury, and impelled irresistibly to vindicate his 
rights, though all he did was characterized by innate nobleness 
of mind. Success made him better fitted for action; fortune 
ever favors the bold, and though she works her pleasure on 
whom she will, Richard was never overwhelmed with adver- 
sity. He was tall of stature and graceful in figure; his hair be- 
tween red and auburn; his limbs were straight and flexible; 
his arms rather long, and not to be matched for wielding the 
sword or for striking with it; and his long legs suited the rest 
of his frame; while his appearance was commanding, and his 
manners and habits suitable; and he gained the greatest celeb- 
rity, not more from his high birth than from the virtues that 
adorned him. But why need we take much labor in extolUng 
the fame of so great a man? 

55. Capture of Acre ^ 

The Third Crusade (1189-1192) was a joint undertaking on the 
part of the three most powerful states of Europe — Germany, France, 
and England. The German contingent, under Frederick Barbarossa, 
followed a land route through the territories of the Roman Empire 
in the East and reached southern Asia Minor. ,Here Frederick per- 
ished by accident; and of all his fine army scarcely a thousand men 
succeeded in joining the other crusaders before Acre, The siege of 
this important city was conducted by the Anglo-French contingent 
under Richard the Lion-hearted and Philip Augustus. 

By the conjunction of the retinues of the two kings, an 
immense army of Christians was formed .... There was not a 
man of influence or renown in France who came not, then or 
afterwards, to the siege of Acre. And when King Richard 
arrived with an army, the flower of war, and learned that the 
king of France had gained the goodwill and favor of all, by 

1 Itinerarium Regis Ricardi, bk. iai, chs. 4, 19. 

I02 Richard I and the Third Crusade 

giving to each of his soldiers three aurei a month, not to be 
outdone or equaled in generosity, he proclaimed by mouth of 
herald that whosoever was in his service, no matter of what 
nation, should receive four aurei a month for his pay. By these 
means his generosity was extolled by all, for he outshone every 
one else in merit and favors, as he outdid them in gifts and mag- 
nificence. "When," exclaimed they, "will the first attack 
take place, by a man whom we have expected so long and 
anxiously? A man, the first of kings, and the most skilled in 
war throughout Christendom? Now let the will of God be 
done, for the hope of all rests on King Richard." 

After a two years' siege x\cre surrendered to the crusaders in iigi. 

From the day on which the Saracens first got possession 
of the city of Acre, to that on which it was restored, was a space 
of four years. . . . The state of the churches within the city 
was not beheld without horror, and it is not without grief 
that we relate the unseemly things that had been perpetrated 
within them. For who could behold, without tears, the coun- 
tenances of the holy images of the crucifixion of the Son of 
God, and of many saints, defiled or disfigured in one way or 
another? Who would not shudder at the horrible sight of 
altars overthrown, and of crucifixes cast to the earth and beaten 
in contempt by that insulting and impious nation, the Sara- 
cens, and their own rites exhibited in holy places? All the 
relics of man's redemption and the Christian religion had been 
effaced, and the corruption of the Mohammedan superstition 
had been introduced. 

56. Richard's Deeds in the Holy Land ^ 

Philip soon returned to France, but Richard stayed in the Holy 
Land for another year. During this time he had much hard fighting 
and met many thrilling adventures. 

The sultan Saladin, hearing that his choice troops, in whom 
he had placed so much confidence, were being defeated by the 

1 Itinerarium Regis Ricardi, bk. iv, chs. 22, 28, 30; bk. v, ch. 54; bk. vi, ch. 28. 

Richard's Deeds in the Holy Land 103 

Christians, was filled with anger. Calling together his com- 
manders, he said to them, "Are these the deeds of my brave 
troops, whom I have loaded with gifts? Lo! the Christians 
traverse the whole country at their pleasure, for there is no one 
to oppose them. Where now are all your boasts, those swords 
and spears with which you threatened to do such execution? 
Where is that prowess which you promised to put forth against 
the Christians, to overthrow them utterly? You have fought 
the battle which you desired, but where is the victory you prom- 
ised? You have degenerated from your noble ancestors, who 
performed such exploits against the Christians and whose 
memory will endure forever." . . . 

The commanders held down their heads at these words; 
but one of them returned this answer, "Most sacred sultan, 
this charge is unjust, for we fought with all our strength against 
the Franks and did our best to destroy them. We met their 
fiercest attacks, but it was of no avail; they are armed in im- 
penetrable armor which no weapon can pierce, so that all our 
blows fell as it were upon a rock of flint. And, further, there 
is one among their number superior to any man we have ever 
seen. He always charges before the rest, slaying and destroy- 
ing our men. He is the first in every enterprise, and is a most 
brave and excellent soldier; no one can resist him or escape 
out of his hands: they call him Melech Ric.^ Such a king as 
he seems born to command the whole earth; what more then 
could we do against so formidable an enemy?" 

Richard on one occasion was very nearly captured by the Saracens. 

King Richard once went out hawking with a small escort 
and intended, if he saw any small body of Saracens, to fall upon 
them. Fatigued with his ride, he fell asleep, and a force of 
Saracens rushed suddenly upon him to make him prisoner. 
The king, awakened by the noise, had hardly time to mount 
his horse, and his attendants were still getting on their horses 
also, when the enemy came upon them and tried to take him. 

1 King Richard. 

I04 Richard I and the Third Crusade 

King Richard, drawing his sword, rushed upon them, and they, 
pretending flight, drew him after them to a place where there 
was another body of Saracens in ambush. These started up 
with speed and surrounded the king to make him prisoner. 
Richard defended himself bravely, and the enemy drew back, 
though he would still have been captured if the Saracens had 
known who he was. But in the midst of the conflict one of 
his companions, William de Pratelles, called out in the Sara- 
cenic language that he was the ''melech," that is, the king; 
and the Saracens, beHeving what he said, led him off captive to 
their own army. . . . 

At the news of this action our men were alarmed, and seiz- 
ing their arms, came at full gallop to find the king. When 
they met him returning safe, he faced about and with them 
pursued the Saracens, who had carried off Wilham de Pratelles, 
thinking they had got Richard himself. They could not, how- 
ever, overtake the fugitives, and Richard then returned to the 
camp, to the great joy of his soldiers, who thanked God for his 
preservation but grieved for William de Pratelles, who loyally 
redeemed the king at the price of his own liberty. Some of 
Richard's friends now reproved him for his temerity, and begged 
him not to wander abroad alone and expose himself to be taken 
by the ambuscades of the Saracens, who were especially eager 
to make him prisoner; but on all occasions to take with him 
some l)rave soldiers and not to trust to his own strength against 
such numbers. But, notwithstanding these admonitions on 
the part of his best friends, the king's nature still broke out. 
In all expeditions he was the first to advance and the last to 
retreat, and he never failed, either by his own valor or the divine 
aid, to bring back numbers of captives, or, if they resisted, 
to put them to the sword. 

On another occasion Richard gained a great victory over vastly 
superior numbers of the foe. 

The conflict was raging fiercely when the king came up, and 
as his retinue was very small, some of his men said to him, 

Richard's Deeds in the Holy Land 105 

''My lord, we do not think it prudent or possible, with our small 
body, to resist this great multitude, nor shall we be able to save 
our men who are fighting with the Saracens. It is better to 
let them perish than to expose your person and all Christendom 
to certain danger, while we have the power of escaping." 
Richard changed color with indignation at these words. 
"What!" said he, "if I neglect to aid my men whom I sent for- 
ward with a promise to follow them, I shall never again deserve 
to be called a king." He said no more, but, spurring his horse, 
dashed into the midst of the Saracens, overthrowing them on both 
sides of him, and brandishing his sword, carved his way to and fro 
among the thickest ranks, slaying and maiming every one he 
came near. ... In short, the enemy were put to the sword or 
took to flight, and our men returned with several prisoners to 
the camp. The same day three Saracens, from fear of death, 
perhaps, embraced Christianity and submitted to King Richard. 

The discovery of a piece of the True Cross — most sacred of all 
relics in the eyes of the crusaders — is thus described. 

It happened, on the third day before the feast of St. John 
the Baptist, that the Christians were much comforted by news 
which was brought to King Richard. A devout man, the abbot 
of St. Elie, whose countenance bespoke holiness, came to the 
king and told him that a long time ago he had concealed a 
piece of the True Cross, in order to preserve it, until the Holy 
Land should be rescued from the infidels and restored entirely 
to its former state. He said further that he alone knew of this 
hidden treasure, and that Saladin had tried in vain to make 
him reveal its whereabouts. On account of his contumacy, 
Saladin had ordered him to be bound; but he persisted in as- 
serting that he had lost the piece of the Cross during the taking 
of Jerusalem; and had thus deluded Saladin, notwithstanding 
the latter's anxiety to find it. The king, hearing this, set out 
immediately, with the abbot and a great number of people, 
to the place of which the abbot had spoken; and having taken 
up the piece of the True Cross with humble veneration, they 

io6 Richard I and the Third Crusade 

returned to the army; and together with the people they kissed 
it with much piety and contrition. 

In 1 192 Richard came to terms with Saladin and quitted the Holy- 
Land, never to return. 

The king . . . sent ambassadors to Saladin, announcing to him, 
in the presence of many of his chiefs, that he asked for a 
truce of three years for the purpose of revisiting his country 
and collecting more men and money, wherewith to return and 
rescue all the land of Jerusalem from his domination, if indeed 
Saladin should have the courage to face him in the field. To 
this Saladin replied, calHng his own Holy Law and God Almighty 
to witness, that he entertained such an exalted opinion of King 
Richard's honor, magnanimity, and general excellence, that 
he would rather lose his dominions to him than to any other 
king he had ever seen, always supposing that he was obliged to 
lose his dominions at all. 



Geoffroy de Villehardouin (about 1 160-12 13) was one 
of the organizers of the Fourth Crusade. He also took 
an active part in the capture of Constantinople and the 
founding of the short-lived Latin Empire. His Conquest 
of Constantinople possesses, accordingly, great historical 
value. It has also real literary merit, for Villehardouin 
wrote lucidly, methodically, and with a directness of 
style which doubtless expressed the author's strong and 
vigorous personality. The work ranks among the most 
important productions of medieval French literature. 

57. First Preaching of the Crusade ^ 

Be it known to you that eleven hundred and ninety-seven 
years after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the 
time of Innocent III, pope of Rome, Philip II, king of France, 
and Richard I, king of England, there was in France a holy 
man named Fulk of Neuilly — which Neuilly is between Lagni- 
sur-Marne and Paris — and he was a priest in that village. 
And Fulk began to speak of God throughout the Isle of France, 
and the other regions round about; and you must know that 
by him the Lord wrought many miracles. 

Be' it known to you, further, that the fame of this holy man 
so spread that it reached the pope, Innocent III; and the pope 
sent to France, and ordered the right worthy man to preach 

1 Memoirs of the Crusades by Villehardouin and De Joinville, translated by Sir 
Frank Marzials. London, 1908. J. M. Dent and Sons. 

2 Villehardouin, La conquHe de Constantinople, ch. i, sees. 1-2. 

io8 The Fourth Crusade 

the cross by his authority. And afterwards the pope sent a 
cardinal of his, Master Peter of Capua, who himseh had taken 
the cross, to proclaim the indulgence of which I now tell you, 
viz., that all who should take the cross and serve in the host 
for one year would be deUvered from all the sins they had com- 
mitted and would be acknowledged in confession. And be- 
cause this indulgence was so great, the hearts of men were 
much moved, and many took the cross for the greatness of 
the pardon. 

58. The Covenant with the Doge of Venice ^ 

The crusaders, having assembled at Compiegne in France, sent six 
envoys, Villehardouin among them, to Venice, in order to make ar- 
rangements for their passage overseas. The doge of Venice at this 
time was Henry Dandolo, a very old man and blind. 

When mass had been said, the doge desired the envoys to 
humbly ask the people to assent to the proposed covenant. 
The envoys came into the church. Curiously were they looked 
upon by many who had not before had sight of them. 

Geoffroy de ViUehardouin, the marshal of Champagne, by 
will and consent of the other envoys, acted as spokesman and 
said unto them, "Lords, the barons of France, most high and 
powerful, have sent us to you; and they cry to you for mercy, 
that you take pity on Jerusalem, which is in bondage to the 
Turks, and that, for God's sake, you help to avenge the shame 
of Christ Jesus. And for this end they have elected to come 
to you, because they know full well that there is no other 
people having so great power on the seas as you and your people. 
And they commanded us to fall at your feet, and not to rise till 
you consent to take pity on the Holy Land which is beyond the 

Then the six envoys knelt at the feet of the people, weeping 
many tears. And the doge and all the others burst into tears 
of pity and compassion, and cried with one voice, and lifted 
up their hands, saying, "We consent, we consent!" Then was 

^ Villehardouin, La conguete de Constantinople, ch. vi, sees. 26-30. 

The Doge Assumes the Cross 109 

there so great a noise and tumuU that it seemed as if the earth 
itself was falhng to pieces. 

And when this great tumuk and passion of pity — greater 
did never any man see — were appeased, the good doge of 
Venice, who was very wise and vahant, went up into the read- 
ing-desk and spoke to the people and said to them, "Signors, 
behold the honor that God has done you; for the best people 
in the world have chosen you to join them in so high an enter- 
prise as the deliverance of our Lord!" 

All the good and beautiful words that the doge then spoke, 
I cannot repeat to you. But the end of the matter was that 
the covenants were to be made on the following day; and made 
they were, and devised accordingly. When they were concluded, 
it was notified to the council that we should go to Babylon,^ 
because the Turks could better be destroyed in Babylon than 
in any other land; but to the folk at large it was only told 
that we were bound to go overseas. We were then in Lent 
(March, 1201), and by St. John's Day, in the following year 
— which would be twelve hundred and two years after the 
Incarnation of Jesus Christ — the barons and pilgrims were 
to be in Venice and the ships ready against their coming. 

59. The Doge Assumes the Cross 2 

Then, on a Sunday, was assemblage held in the church of 
St. Mark. It was a very high festival, and the people of the 
land were there, as well as most of the barons and pilgrims. 

Before the beginning of High Mass, the doge of Venice 
went up into the reading-desk and spoke to the people and 
said to them, "Signors, you are associated with the most worthy 
people in the world, and for the highest enterprise ever under- 
taken; and I am a man old and feeble, who should have need 
of rest, and I am sick in body; but I see that no one could com- 
mand and lead you like myself, who am your lord. If you will 

1 By "Babylon" must be understood Cairo. It seems that Egypt, at this time 
the center of the Moslem power, was to be the first point of attack. 
^ Villehardouin, La conquete de Constantinople, ch. xiv, sees. 64-69. 

no The Fourth Crusade 

consent that I take the sign of the cross to guard and direct 
you, and that my son remain in my place to guard the land, then 
shall I go to live or die with you and with the pilgrims." 

And when they had heard him, they cried with one voice, 
"We pray you by God that you consent, and do it, and that 
you come with us!" 

Very great was then the pity and compassion on the part 
of the people of the land and of the pilgrims; and many were 
the tears shed, because that worthy and good man would have 
had so much reason to remain behind, for he was an old man, 
and albeit his eyes were unclouded, yet he saw naught, having 
lost his sight through a wound in the head. He was of a great 
heart. . . . 

Thus he came down from the reading-desk and went before 
the altar and knelt upon his knees, greatly weeping. And 
they sewed the cross upon a great cotton hat, which he wore 
in front, because he wished that all men should see it. And 
the Venetians began to take the cross in great numbers, a great 
multitude, for up to that day very few had taken the cross. 
Our pilgrims had much joy in the cross that the doge took, 
and were greatly moved, because of the wisdom and the valor 
that were in him. 

Thus did the doge take the cross, as you have heard. Then 
the Venetians began to deliver the ships, the galleys, and the 
transports to the barons, for departure. ... 

60. The Crusaders before Constantinople ^ 

But the crusaders were destined never to see Egypt and the Holy 
Land. Constantinople, not Cairo and Jerusalem, became their ob- 
jective. According to Villehardouin's account, they were induced to 
change their plans because of the proposals made to them by Alexius, 
son of Isaac, the former eastern emperor. Alexius wished to secure 
their aid in restoring his father to the throne. In return for the serv- 
ices of the crusaders, Alexius promised to bring back the Greek Church 
into obedience to Rome, to pay them liberally, and to cooperate with 

1 Villehardouin, La conqiiete de Constantinople, ch. xxxi, sees. 154-157; chs. 
xxxv-xxxvii, sees. 171, 175, 177, 179-182. 

The Crusaders before Constantinople iii 

them in future campaigns against the Moslems. The crusaders ac- 
cepted these tempting offers and set sail for Constantinople to make 
war on the " Greeks." Their landing at the port of the city is vividly 

The day was fixed on which the host should embark on the 
ships and transports to take the land by force, and either live 
or die. And be it known to you that the enterprise to be 
achieved was one of the most formidable ever attempted. 
Then did the bishops and clergy speak to the people, and tell 
them how they must confess, and make each one his testament, 
seeing that no one knew what might be the will of God con- 
cerning him. And this was done right willingly throughout 
the host and very piously. 

The term fixed was now come; and the knights went on board 
the transports with their war-horses; and they were fully 
armed, with their helmets laced, and the horses covered with 
their housings, and saddled. All the other folk, who were of 
less consequence in battle, were on the great ships; and the 
galleys were fully armed and made ready. 

The morning was fair after the rising of the sun; and the 
emperor Alexius ^ stood waiting for them on the other side, 
with great forces, and everything in order. The trumpets 
sounded and every galley took a transport in tow, so as to reach 
the other side more readily. None asked who should go first, 
but each made the land as soon as he could. The knights 
issued from the transports and leaped into the sea up to their 
waists, fully armed, with helmets laced, and lances in hand; 
and the good archers, and the good sergeants, and the good 
crossbowmen landed as soon as they touched ground. 

The Greeks made a goodly show of resistance; but when it 
came to the lowering of the lances, they turned their backs, 
and went away flying, and abandoned the shore. And be it 
known to you that never was port more proudly taken. . . . 

Having captured the port of Constantinople, the crusaders made 
ready to assault the city by land and sea. 

J The usurper, Alexius III. He had deposed and imprisoned his brother Isaac. 

112 The Fourth Crusade 

First they planted two ladders at a barbican near the sea; 
and the wall was well defended by Englishmen and Danes; ^ 
and the attack was stiff and good and fierce. By main strength 
certain knights and two sergeants got up the ladders and made 
themselves masters of the wall; and at least fifteen got upon 
the wall, and fought there, hand to hand, with axes and swords, 
and those within redoubled their efforts and cast them out in 
very ugly sort, keeping two as prisoners. And those of our 
people who had been taken were led before the emperor Alexius; 
much was he pleased thereat. Thus did the assault leave mat- 
ters on the side of the French. Many were wounded and many 
had their bones broken, so that the barons were very wroth. 

Meanwhile the doge of Venice had not forgotten to do his 
share, but had ranged his ships and transports and vessels in 
line; and the Venetians began to draw near to the part of the 
shore that lay under the walls and the towers. Then might 
you have seen the mangonels ^ shooting from the ships and 
transports, and the crossbow bolts flying, and the bows letting 
fly their arrows deftly and well; and those within defending 
the walls and towers very fiercely; and the ladders on the ships 
coming so near that in many places swords and lances crossed; 
and the tumult and noise were so great that it seemed as if the 
very earth and sea were melting together. And be it known 
to you that the galleys did not dare to come to the shore. 

Now may you hear of a strange deed of prowess; for the 
doge of Venice, who was an old man and saw naught, stood, 
fully armed, on the prow of his galley, and had the standard of 
St. Mark before him; and he cried to his people to put him on 
land, or else that he would do justice upon their bodies with his 
hands. And so they did, for the galley was run aground, and 
they leapt therefrom, and bore the standard of St. Mark before 
him on to the land. 

And when the Venetians saw the standard of St. Mark on 
land, and the galley of their lord touching ground before them, 

1 Northmen in the service of the eastern emperor. 

2 Engines for hurling stones and javelins. 

The Crusaders before Constantinople 113 

each one feU ashamed, and they all got to the land; and those 
in the transports leapt forth, and landed; and those in the big 
ships got into barges, and made for the shore, each and all as 
best they could. Then might you have seen an assault, great 
and marvelous; and to this bears witness Geoff roy de Ville- 
hardouin, who makes this book, that more than forty people 
told him for truth that they saw the standard of St. Mark of 
Venice at the top of one of the towers, and that no man knew 
who bore it thither. 

Now hear of a strange miracle : those who were within the city 
fled and abandoned the walls, and the Venetians entered in, each 
as fast and as best he could, and seized twenty-five of the towers, 
and manned them with their people. And the doge took a boat, 
and sent messengers to the barons of the host to tell them that 
he had taken twenty-five towers, and that they might know that 
such towers could not be retaken. The barons were so over- 
joyed that they could not beheve their ears; and the Venetians 
began to send to the host in boats the horses and palfreys they 
had taken 

Then the emperor Alexius issued from the city, with all his 
forces, by other gates which were at least a league from the 
camp; and so many began to issue forth that it seemed as 
if the whole world were there assembled. The emperor mar- 
shaled his troops in the plain, and they rode toward the 
camp ; and when our Frenchmen saw them coming, they ran to 
arms from all sides. . . . 

It seemed as if the whole plain was covered with troops, 
and they advanced slowly and in order. Well might we appear 
in perilous case, for we had but six divisions, while the Greeks 
had fully forty, and there was not one of their divisions but was 
larger than any of ours. But ours were ordered in such a 
way that none could attack them save in front. . . . 

For a long space the armies of the pilgrims and of the Greeks 
stood one against the other; because the Greeks did not dare 
to throw themselves upon our ranks, and our people would 
not move from their paHsades. . . . Thus did the battle remain 

114 The Fourth Crusade 

for that day. As it pleased God nothing further was done. 
The emperor Alexius returned to the city, and those of the host 
to their quarters — the latter taking off their armor, for they 
were weary and overwrought; and they ate and drank little, 
seeing that their store of food was but scanty. 

Now listen to the miracles of our Lord — how gracious are 
they whithersoever it pleases Him to perform them ! That very 
night the emperor Alexius took of his treasure as much as he 
could carry, and took with him as many of his people as would 
go, and so fled and abandoned Constantinople. And those 
who remained in the city were astonished and they drew to the 
prison in which lay the emperor Isaac, whose eyes had been 
put out. Him they clothed imperially, and bore to the great 
palace of Blachernae and seated on a high throne; and there they 
did him obeisance as their lord. Then they took messengers, 
by the advice of the emperor Isaac, and sent them to the host, 
announcing that Alexius had fled and that they had again 
raised up Isaac as emperor. 

61. Foundation of the Latin Empire ^ 

The immediate purpose of the expedition had now been attained. 
Constantinople had been reached, the usurper put to flight, and Isaac 
restored to the throne. But the young Alexius could not, or would 
not, keep his promise to the crusaders. At length they sent six envoys 
to him to demand, under threat of force, the fulfillment of the agree- 

For this embassy were chosen Conon of Bethune, Geoffroy 
de Villehardouin, the marshal of Champagne, and Miles of 
Provins; and the doge also sent three chief men of his council. 
So these envoys mounted their horses and, with swords girt, 
rode together till they came to the palace of Blachernae. And 
be it known to you that, by reason of the treachery of the 
Greeks, they went in great peril and on a hard adventure. 

They dismounted at the gate, entered the palace, and found 

1 Villehardouin, La conquete de Constantinople, ch. xlvi, sees. 21 1-2 15; ch. Ivi, 
sees. 252-255. 

Foundation of the Latin Empire 115 

Alexius and Isaac seated on two thrones, side by side. And 
near them was seated the empress, who was the wife of the 
father, and stepmother of the son, and sister to the king of 
Hungary — a lady both fair and good. And there were with 
them a great company of people of note and rank, so that 
well did the court seem to be that of a rich and mighty prince. 

By desire of the other envoys Conon of Bethune, who was. 
very wise and eloquent of speech, acted as spokesman. "Sire," 
said he, "we have come to thee on the part of the barons of the 
host and of the doge of Venice. They would put thee in mind 
of the great service they have done to thee — a service known 
to the people and manifest to all men. Thou hast sworn, thou 
and thy father, to fulfill the promised covenants, and they 
have your charters in hand. But you have not fulfilled those 
covenants well, as you should have done. Many times have 
they called upon you to do so, and now again we call upon 
you, in the presence of all your barons, to fulfill the covenants 
that are between you and them. Should you do so, it shall 
be well. If not, be it known to you that from this day forth 
they will not hold you as lord or friend, but will endeavor to 
obtain their due by all the means in their power. And of this 
they now give you warning, seeing that they would not injure 
you, or anyone, without first defiance given; for never have 
they acted treacherously, nor in their land is it customary to 
do so. You have heard what we have said. It is for you to 
take counsel thereon according to your pleasure." 

Much were the Greeks amazed and greatly outraged by this 
open defiance; and they said that never had anyone been 
so hardy as to dare defy the emperor of Constantinople in his 
own hall. Very evil were the looks now cast on the envoys by 
Alexius and by all the Greeks, who once were wont to regard 
them very favorably. 

Great was the tumult there within, and the envoys turned 
about and came to the gate and mounted their horses. When 
they got outside the gate, there was not one of them but felt 
glad at heart; nor is that to be marveled at, for they had 

ii6 The Fourth Crusade 

escaped from very great peril, and it was remarkable that 
they were not all killed or taken. So they returned to the 
camp, and told the barons how they had fared. 

The continual friction between the Greeks and the crusaders passed 
at length into the open fire of war. The latter now resolved to storm 
Constantinople and to appropriate for themselves the territories of 
• the Roman Empire in the East. Their crusade had ceased to be a 
crusade, and had become an expedition of conquest and plunder. 
Constantinople fell after a hard struggle, and the victors at once pro- 
ceeded to divide the spoil of what was then the largest and richest 
city in the Christian world. 

Then it was proclaimed throughout the host by Marquis 
Boniface of Montferrat, who was lord of the host, and by the 
barons, and by the doge of Venice, that all the booty should 
be collected and brought together, as had been covenanted 
under oath and pain of excommunication. Three churches 
were appointed for the receiving of the spoils, and guards were 
set to have them in charge, both Franks and Venetians, the 
most upright that could be found. 

Then each began to bring in such booty as he had taken and 
to collect it together. And some brought in loyally, and some 
in evil sort, because covetousness, which is the root of all evil, 
hindered them. So from that time forth the covetous began 
to keep things back, and our Lord began to love them less. 
Ah God! how loyally they had borne themselves up to now! 
And well had the Lord God shown them that in all things He 
was ready to honor and exalt them above all people. But 
often do the good suffer for the sins of the wicked. 

The spoils and booty were collected together, and you must 
know that all was not brought into the common stock, for not 
a few kept things back, in spite of the excommunication of the 
pope. That which was brought to the churches was divided, 
in equal parts, between the Franks and the Venetians, accord- 
ing to the sworn covenant. And you must know further that 
the pilgrims, after the division had been made, paid out of their 
share fifty thousand marks of silver to the Venetians, and then 

Foundation of the Latin Empire 117 

divided at least one hundred thousand marks between them- 
selves, among their own people. And shall I tell you in what 
manner? Two sergeants on foot counted as one mounted, 
and two sergeants mounted as one knight. And you must 
know that no man received more, either on account of his rank 
or because of his deeds, than that which had been so settled 
and ordered — save in so far as he may have stolen it. 

And as to theft, and those who were convicted thereof, 
you must know that stern justice was meted out to such as 
were found guilty, and not a few were hanged. The count of 
St. Paul hung one of his knights, who had kept back certain 
spoils, with his shield to his neck; but many there were, both 
great and small, who kept back part of the spoils, and it was 
never known. Well may you be assured that the booty was very 
great, for if it had not been for what was stolen, and for the part 
given to the Venetians, there would have been at least four 
hundred thousand marks of silver, and at least ten thousand 
horses. Thus were divided the spoils of Constantinople, as 
you have heard. 

The Latin Empire of Constantinople lasted little more than half a 
century (i 204-1 261), At the end of this period the Greeks recovered 
Constantinople and restored the former empire. If the crusaders, 
instead of giving themselves up to greed, rapine, and oppression, had 
governed wisely and well, they might have established a permanent 
state in eastern Europe and thus have barred the way against the en- 
trance of the Ottoman Turks, two hundred years later. It was a 
great opportunity lost. 



As Villehardouin was the first, so Jean de Joinville 
(1224-1319) was the second, of the great French chroni- 
clers of the Middle Ages. Like Villehardouin, Joinville 
describes a crusade, in this case the crusade which St. 
Louis, king of France, undertook in 1248. Joinville 
accompanied his royal master to Egypt and the Holy 
Land, and shared all the perils of what proved to be a 
disastrous enterprise. The crusade is set forth at length 
in Joinville's narrative. The most interesting passages 
are those which describe the French king, for whom 
Joinville felt unbounded admiration. St. Louis is gener- 
ally considered a most remarkable figure in medieval 
history, at once one of the ablest and one of the noblest 
rulers France ever had. We are fortunate, therefore, 
in possessing Joinville's biography, written when he was 
a very old man and St. Louis had long been dead. In 
St. Louis Joinville found realized a high ideal of Christian 
manhood, and he labors with success to paint a faithful 
portrait of the friend of his youth, who had been to him 
both king and saint. 

62. Virtues of St. Louis 2 

The great love that he bore to his people appeared in what he 
said, during a very severe sickness that he had at Fontainebleau, 
unto Louis, his eldest son. "Fair son," he said, "I pray thee 
make thyself beloved by the people of thy kingdom; for 

1 Memoirs of the Crusades by Villehardouin and De Joinville, translated by 
Sir Frank Marzials. London, igo8. J. M. Dent and Sons. 

2 Joinville, Histoire de St. Louis, ch. iii, sees. 21-24; ch. iv, sees. 26, 29; ch. v, 
sees. 30-32. 

Virtues of St. Louis 119 

truly I would rather that a Scot should come out of Scotland 
and govern the people of the kingdom well and equitably than 
that thou shouldest govern it ill in the sight of all men." The 
holy king so loved truth, that he would never consent to lie to 
the SaracenSj as to any covenant that he had made with them. 

In his eating he was so sober, that on no day of my hfe did 
I ever hear him order special meats, as many rich men are wont 
to do; but he ate patiently whatever his cooks had made ready 
and was set before him. In his words he was temperate; for on 
no day of my hfe did I ever hear him speak evil of anyone; 
nor did I ever hear him name the Devil — which name is very 
commonly spoken throughout the kingdom, whereby God, as 
I believe, is not well pleased. 

He put water into his wine by measure, according as he saw 
that the strength of the wine required it. At Cyprus he asked 
me why I put no water into my wine; and I said this was 
by order of the physicians, who told me I had a large head 
and a cold stomach, so that I could not get drunk. And he 
answered that they deceived me; for if I did not learn to put 
water into my wine in my youth, and wished to do so in my 
old age, gout and diseases of the stomach would take hold upon 
me, and I should never be in health; and if I drank pure wine in 
my old age, I should get drunk every night, and that it was too 
foul a thing for a brave man to get drunk. 

He asked me if I wished to be honored in this world, and 
to go into paradise at my death? And I said ''Yes," and he 
said, "Keep yourself then from knowingly doing or saying 
anything which, if the whole world heard thereof, you would 
be ashamed to acknowledge. ..." 

He called me once to him and said, ''Because of the subtle 
mind that is in you I dare now speak to you of the things relat- 
ing to God; so I have summoned these two monks that are 
here, as I want to ask you a question." Now the question 
was this: " Seneschal," said he, "what manner of thing is God? " 
And I said, "Sire, it is so good a thing that there cannot be 
better." "Of a truth," said he, "you have answered well; 

I20 St. Louis 

for the answer that you have given is written in this book that 
I hold in my hand." . . . 

He asked me if I washed the feet of the poor on Holy Thurs- 
day. " Sire," said I, " it would make me sick! The feet of these 
people will I not wash." ''In truth," said he, "that was ill 
said; for you should never disdain what God did for our teach- 
ing. So I pray you, for the love of God first, and then for the 
love of me, that you accustom yourself to wash the feet of the 

He so loved all manner of people who had faith in God and 
loved Him, that he gave the constableship of France to Giles Le 
Brun, who was not of the kingdom of France, because men held 
him in such great repute for his faith and for love to God. And 
verily I believe that his good repute was well deserved. 

He caused Master Robert of Sorbon to eat at his table, 
because of the high reputation which he had as a man of 
uprightness and worth. One day it chanced that Master 
Robert was eating at my side, and we were talking to one 
another. The king took us up, and said, "Speak out, for your 
companions think you are speaking ill of them. If you talk 
at table of things that can give us pleasure, speak out, and, if 
not, hold your peace." 

When the king would be mirthful he would say to me, " Senes- 
chal, tell me the reasons why a man of uprightness and v/orth 
is better than a friar? " Then would begin a discussion between 
me and Master Robert. When we had disputed for a long 
while, the king would give sentence as follows: "Master Robert, 
willingly would I bear the title of upright and worthy, pro- 
vided I were such in reality — and all the rest you might have. 
For uprightness and worth are such great things and such good 
things that even to name them fills the mouth pleasantly." 

63. How St. Louis Worshiped and did Justice ^ 

The rule of his land was so arranged that every day he heard 
the canonical hours sung, and a Requiem mass without song; 

1 Joinville, Eistoire de St. Louis, ch. xi, sees. 54-60. 

How St. Louis Worshiped and did Justice 121 

and then, if it was convenient, the mass of the day, or of the 
saint, with song. Every day he rested in his bed after having 
eaten, and when he had slept and rested, he said, privately in 
his chamber — he and one of his chaplains together — the 
office for the dead; and afterwards he heard vespers. At 
night he heard complines. 

A Franciscan monk came to him at the castle of Hyeres and 
said in his sermon, for the king's instruction, that he had read 
the Bible and the books pertaining to heathen princes, and that 
he had never found, either among believers or unbelievers, 
that a kingdom had been lost or had changed lords, unless 
there had first been failure of justice. "Therefore let the king, 
who is going into France, take good heed," said he, "that he 
do justice well and speedily among his people, so that our 
Lord suffer his kingdom to remain in peace all the days of his 
life." It is said that the right worthy man, who thus instructed 
the king, lies buried at Marseilles, where our Lord, for his sake, 
performs many a fine miracle. . . . The king forgot not the 
teaching of the friar, but ruled his land very loyally and godly, 
as you shall hear. . . . 

And when he came back from church, he would send for us 
and sit at the foot of his bed, and make us all sit round him, 
and ask if there were any whose cases could not be settled save 
by himself in person. And we named the litigants; and he 
would then send for them and ask, "Why do you not accept 
what our people offer?" And they would make reply, "Sire, 
because they offer us very little." Then would he say, "You 
would do well to accept what is proposed, as our people de- 
sire." And the saintly man endeavored thus, with all his power, 
to bring them into a straight and reasonable path. 

Ofttimes it happened that he would go, after his mass, and 
seat himself in the wood of Vincennes, and lean against an oak 
and make us sit round him. And all those who had any case 
in hand came and spoke to him, without hindrance of usher 
or of any other person. Then would he ask, out of his own 
mouth, "Is there anyone who has a case in hand?" And 

122 St. Louis 

those who had a case in hand stood up. Then would he say, 
''Keep silence all, and you shall be heard in turn, one after the 
other." Then he would call Lord Peter of Fontaines and 
Lord Geoffroy of Villette, and say to one of them, ''Settle me 
this case." And when he saw that there was anything to 
amend in the words of those who spoke on his behalf, or in the 
words of those who spoke on behalf of any other person, he 
would himself, out of his own mouth, amend what they had 
said. . . . 

64. Instructions of St. Louis to His Son ^ 

"Confess thyself often, and choose for confessor a right 
worthy man who knows how to teach thee what to do, and 
what not to do; and bear thyself in such sort that thy confessor 
and thy friends shall dare to reprove thee for thy misdoings. 
Listen to the services of holy Church devoutly, and without 
chattering; and pray to God with thy heart and with thy lips, 
and especially at mass when the consecration takes place. 
Let thy heart be tender and full of pity toward those who are 
poor, miserable, and afflicted; and comfort and help them to 
the utmost of thy power. 

"Maintain the good customs of thy realm, and aboKsh 
the bad. Be not covetous against thy people; and do not 
burden them with taxes except when thou art in great need. ... 

"See that thou hast in thy company men, whether religious 
or lay, who are right worthy, and loyal, and not full of covetous- 
ness, and confer with them often; and fly the company of the 
wicked. Hearken willingly to the Word of God, and keep it 
in thine heart; and seek diligently after prayers and indul- 
gences. Love all that is good and profitable, and hate all that 
is evil wheresoever it may be. . . . 

"In order to do justice to thy subjects, be upright and firm, 
turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but always 
to what is just; and do thou maintain the cause of the poor until 
such time as the truth is made clear. And if anyone has an 

» Joinville, Histoire de St. Louis, ch. cxlv, sees. 742-743, 745, 747-75o» 752-754* 

Instructions of St. Louis to His Son 123 

action against thee, make full inquisition until thou knowest 
the truth; for thus shall thy counselors judge the more boldly 
according to the truth, whether for thee or against. 

"If thou holdest aught that belongeth to another, whether 
by thine own act or the act of thy predecessors, and the matter 
be certain, make restoration without delay. If the matter be 
doubtful, cause inquiry to be made by wise men, dihgently and 

"Give heed that thy servants and thy subjects live under 
thee in peace and uprightness. Especially maintain the good 
cities and commons of thy realm in the same condition and with 
the same privileges as they enjoyed under thy predecessors; 
and if there be aught to amend, amend and set it right, and keep 
them in thy favor and love. For because of the power and 
wealth of the great cities, thine own subjects, and specially 
thy peers and thy barons, and foreigners also, will fear to under- 
take aught against thee. 

"Love and honor all persons belonging to holy Church, 
and see that no one takes away, or diminishes, the gifts and 
alms made to them by thy predecessors. It is related of King 
Philip, my grandfather,^ that one of his counselors once told 
him that those of holy Church did him much harm and damage, 
in that they deprived him of his rights, and diminished his 
jurisdiction, and that it was a great wonder that he suffered it; 
and the good king replied that he believed this might well be 
so, but he had regard to the benefits and courtesies that God 
had bestowed upon him, and so thought it better to abandon 
some of his rights than to have any contention with the people 
of holy Church. . . . 

"Beware of undertaking a war against any Christian prince 
without great deliberation; and if it has to be undertaken, see 
that thou do no hurt to holy Church, and to those who have 
done thee no injury. If wars and dissensions arise among thy 
subjects, see that thou appease them as soon as thou art able. 

"Use diligence to have good provosts and bailiffs, and 

1 Philip II (Augustus), 1 180-12 23. 

124 St. Louis 

inquire often of them, and of those of thy household, how they 
conduct themselves, and if there be found in them any vice 
of inordinate covetousness, or falsehood, or trickery. Labor to 
free thy land from all iniquity, and especially strike down 
with all thy power evil swearing and heresy. See to it that the 
expense of thy household be reasonable. 

"Finally, my very dear son, cause masses to be sung for my 
soul, and prayers to be said throughout thy realm; and give 
to me a special share and full part in all the good thou doest. 
Fair dear son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father 
can give to his son." . . . 



Jean Froissart (about 1338-1410), the third of the 
great French chroniclers of the Middle Ages, chose for 
his theme the history of the fourteenth century in western 
Europe. In Froissart's time the feudal age was draw- 
ing to an end, and with the decline of feudalism went 
the decay of knighthood and chivalry. Froissart was 
steeped in the spirit of chivalry. He loved nothing 
better than a tale of the old heroic days, and he spent 
a large part of his life traveHng through the different 
countries of Europe, in order to collect the materials 
for his Chronicles. He himself declares that he had 
searched the greater part of Christendom, ''and where- 
ever I came, I made inquiry after those ancient knights 
and squires who had been present at feats of arms, and 
who were well qualified to describe them. I sought 
also for heralds of good repute to verify what I heard 
elsewhere of these matters. In this manner have I 
gathered the facts in this noble history. ... As long as 
through God's grace I shall live, I shall continue it, for 
the more I work at it, the greater pleasure I receive." 
Froissart's Chronicles is a very large book, written quite 
uncritically and in a rambling, disconnected fashion. 
The author always tells an interesting story; but he 
is not a real historian. The pages of Froissart breathe, 

1 Froissart'' s Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the Adjoining Countries, 
translated by Thomas Johnes, London, 1849. 

126 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

nevertheless, the spirit of the times to which they belong, 
and the judgment of many generations of readers has 
been unanimous in according to him a high place among 
the eminent writers, not only of France, but of the world. 
Some of the best-known chapters in the Chronicles are 
those deahng with the early campaigns of the Hundred 
Years' War between England and France. 

65. Battle of Crecy i 

The Hundred Years' War began in 1337, when Edward III of Eng- 
land declared himself to be the lawful ruler of France and prepared to 
support his pretensions by force of arms. The first nine years of the 
contest were uneventful, but in 1346 Edward landed in France with 
about 20,000 troops, more than half of them being archers. Near the 
village of Crecy he encountered Philip VI, the French king. Philip's 
army, probably about 60,000 strong, included a large body of Genoese 
crossbowmen and the flower of French knighthood. 

The English, who were drawn up in three divisions and 
seated on the ground, on seeing their enemies advance, rose up 
undauntedly and fell into their ranks. That of the Prince of 
Wales 2 was the first to do so, whose archers were formed in 
the manner of a portcullis, or harrow, with the men-at-arms 
in the rear. The earls of Northampton and Arundel, who 
commanded the second division, had posted themselves in 
good order on his wing, to assist and succor the prince if neces- 

You must know that these kings, earls, barons, and lords of 
France did not advance in any regular order, but one after the 
other, or any way most pleasing to themselves. As soon as 
the king of France came in sight of the English, his blood began 
to boil, and he cried out to his marshals, "Order the Genoese 
forward, and begin the battle, in the name of God and St, 

1 Froissart, Chroniques, bk. i, pt. i, chs. 287-288, 290, 292, 294. 

2 The Black Prince, as he was afterwards called, was at this time a lad of six- 

Battle of Crecy 127 

Denis." ^ There were about fifteen thousand Genoese cross- 
bowmen; but they were quite fatigued, having marched on 
foot that day six leagues, completely armed, and with their 
crossbows. They told the marshals that they were not in a fit 
condition to do any great things that day in battle. The earl 
of Alenjon, hearing this, said, "This is what one gets by em- 
ploying such scoundrels, who fall off when there is any need 
for them." During this time a heavy rain fell, accompanied 
by thunder and a very terrible eclipse of the sun; and before 
this rain a great flight of crows hovered in the air over all those 
battalions, making a loud noise. Shortly afterwards it cleared 
up, and the sun shone very bright; but the Frenchmen had it 
in their faces, and the Enghsh in their backs. 

When the Genoese were somewhat in order and approached 
the English, they set up a loud shout, in order to frighten them; 
but the latter remained quite still and did not seem to attend 
to it. They then set up a second shout and advanced a little 
forward; but the English never moved. They hooted a third 
time, advancing with their crossbows presented, and began to 
shoot. The English archers then advanced one step forward, 
and shot their arrows with such force and quickness that it 
seemed as if it snowed. When the Genoese felt these arrows, 
which pierced their arms and heads and through their armor, 
some of them cut the strings of their crossbows, others flung 
them on the ground, and all turned about and retreated, quite 
discomfited. The French had a large body of men-at-arms 
on horseback, to support the Genoese. The king of France, 
seeing them thus fall back, cried out, "Kill me those scoun- 
drels; for they stop up our road, without any reason." You 
would then have seen the men-at-arms lay about them, killing 
all they could of these runaways. 

The English continued shooting as vigorously and quickly 
as before. Some of their arrows fell among the horsemen, 
who were sumptuously equipped, and, killing and wounding 
many, made them caper and fall among the Genoese, so that 

^ The patron saint of France. 

128 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

they were in such confusion they could never rally again. In 
the English army there were some Cornishmen and Welshmen 
on foot, who had armed themselves with large knives; these, 
advancing through the ranks of the men-at-arms and archers, 
who made way for them, came upon the French when they 
were in this danger, and, falling upon earls, barons, knights, and 
squires, slew many, at which the king of England was after- 
wards much exasperated.^ 

The valiant king of Bohemia was slain there. . . . Having 
heard the order of the battle, he inquired where his son was; 
his attendants answered that they did not know, but believed 
he was fighting. The king said to them, "Gentlemen, you are 
all my people, my friends, and brethren-at-arms this day; 
therefore, as I am blind, I request you to lead me so far into 
the engagment that I may strike one stroke with my sword." 
The knights replied that they would directly lead him for- 
ward; and, in order that they might not lose him in the crowd, 
they fastened all the reins of their horses together, and put 
the king at their head, and advanced toward the enemy. . . . 
The king rode in among the enemy and made good use of his 
sword; for he and his companions fought most gallantly. 
They advanced so far that they were all slain; and on the mor- 
row they were found on the ground, with their horses all tied 
together. . . . 

Early in the day some French, Germans, and Savoyards 
had broken through the archers of the prince's battalion and 
had engaged with the men-at-arms; upon which the second 
battalion came to his aid, and it was time, for otherwise he 
would have been hard pressed. The first division, seeing the 
danger they were in, sent a knight in great haste to the king 
of England, who was posted upon an eminence near a windmill. 
On the knight's arrival, he said, "Sir, the earl of Warwick, 
Lord Stafford, Lord Reginald Cobham, and the others who 
are about your son, are vigorously attacked by the French; 
and they beg you to come to their assistance with your battahon, 

1 The French knights, if taken prisoners, would have brought large ransoms. 

Battle of Crecy 129 

for, if their numbers should increase, they fear he will have too 
much to do." The king replied, "Is my son dead, unhorsed, or 
so badly wounded that he cannot support himself?" "Noth- 
ing of the sort, thank God," rejoined the knight; "but he is in 
so hot an engagement that he has great need of your help." 
The king answered, "Now, Sir Thomas, return back to those 
that sent you and tell them from me, not to send again for me 
this day, or expect that I shall come, let what will happen, as 
long as my son has life; and say that I command them to let 
the boy win his spurs; for I am determined, if it please God, 
that all the glory and honor of this day shall be given to him 
and to those into whose care I have intrusted him." The knight 
returned to his lords and related the king's answer, which 
mightily encouraged them and made them repent they had 
ever sent such a message. . . . 

Late after vespers, the king of France had not more about 
him than sixty men, every one included. Sir John of Hainault, 
who was of the number, had once remounted the king; for his 
horse had been killed under him by an arrow; he said to the 
king, "Sir, retreat while you have an opportunity, and do not 
expose yourself so needlessly; if you have lost this battle, 
another time you will, be the conqueror." After he had said 
this, he took the bridle of the king's horse, and led him off by 
force. The king rode on until he came to the castle of La Broyes, 
where he found the gates shut, for it was very dark. The king 
ordered the governor of it to be summoned; he came upon the 
battlements and asked who it was that called at such an hour? 
The king answered, "Open, open, governor; it is the fortune of 
France." The governor, hearing the king's voice, immediately 
descended, opened the gate, and let down the bridge. The 
king and his company entered the castle; but he had with him 
only five barons. . . . The king would not bury himself in such 
a place as that, but, having taken some refreshments, set out 
again with his attendants about midnight, and rode on, under 
the direction of guides who were well acquainted with the coun- 
try, until, about daybreak, he came to Amiens, where he halted. 

130 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

This Saturday the English never quitted their ranks in pur- 
suit of anyone, but remained on the field, guarding their posi- 
tion and defending themselves against all who attacked them. 
The battle was ended at the hour of vespers. When, on this 
Saturday night, the English heard no more hooting or shout- 
ing, nor any more crying out to particular lords or their banners, 
they looked upon the field as their own and their enemies as 
beaten. They made great fires and lighted torches because of 
the obscurity of the night. King Edward then came down 
from his post, who all that day had not put on his helmet, and 
with his whole battalion, advanced to the Prince of Wales, 
whom he embraced in his arms and kissed, and said, ^' Sweet 
son, God give you good perseverance; you are my son, for 
most loyally have you acquitted yourself this day; you are 
worthy to be a sovereign." The prince bowled down very low, 
and humbled himself, giving all honor to the king his father. 
The English, during the night, made frequent thanksgivings 
to the Lord for the happy issue of the day, and without rioting, 
for the king had forbidden all riot or noise. 

The battle of Crecy, as Froissart describes it, was a struggle between 
the crossbow and the longbow, between footmen and mailed knights, 
between a huge but disorderly array of feudal nobles and a smaller 
but well-disciplined force of common soldiers. The issue of the battle 
struck a mortal blow at the old methods of warfare and at the feudal 
system, as well. 

66. Surrender of Calais ^ 

Immediately after the victory of Crecy Edward started for Calais, 
the most important town in northern France. With Dover on the oppo- 
site shore, it commanded the Channel, and Edward was anxious to 
secure it. The place was too strong to be carried by assault, so Edward 
determined to starve the defenders into surrender. Philip appeared 
before the walls with another army, but at the last moment suddenly 
withdrew, unwilling to risk a second defeat at the hands of the English. 

After the departure of the French king with his army, the 
citizens of Calais saw clearly that all hopes of succor were at 

1 Froissart, Chroniques, bk. i, pt. i, chs. 320-321. 

Surrender of Calais 131 

an end; a fact which occasioned them so much sorrow and dis- 
tress that the hardiest could scarcely support it. They entreated 
therefore, most earnestly, Lord John de Vienne, their governor, 
to mount upon the battlements and make a sign that he wished 
to hold a parley. The king of England, upon hearing this, 
sent to him Sir Walter Manny and Lord Basset. When they 
were come near. Lord de Vienne said to them, "Dear gentle- 
men, you who are very valiant knights, know that the king of 
France, whose subjects we are, has sent us hither to defend 
this town and castle from all harm and damage; this we have 
done to the best of our abilities. All hopes of help have now 
left us, so that we are most exceedingly straitened; and if your 
king have not pity upon us, we must perish with hunger. I 
therefore entreat that you would beg him to have compas- 
sion on us, and to have the goodness to allow us to depart in 
the state we are in, and that he will be satisfied with having 
possession of the town and castle, with all that is within them, 
as he will find therein riches enough to content him." 

The English king, when this offer of surrender reached him, consented 
to treat with the French governor only on condition that six of the 
principal citizens of Calais should come forth with halters around their 
necks and the keys of the town in their hands. The remainder of the 
inhabitants he promised to pardon. 

Sir Walter Manny returned to Lord de Vienne, who was 
waiting for him on the walls, and told him all that he had been 
able to gain from the king. " I beg of you," rephed the governor, 
"that you would be so good as to remain here a little, while I 
go and relate all that has passed to the townsmen; for, as they 
have desired me to undertake this, it is but proper they should 
know the result of it." He went to the market place and caused 
the bell to be rung; upon which all the inhabitants, men and 
women, assembled in the town hall. He then related to them 
what he had said and the answers he had received; and that 
he could not obtain any conditions more favorable, to which 
they must give a short and immediate answer. This informa- 
tion caused the greatest lamentations and despair; so that the 

132 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

hardest heart would have had compassion on them; even 
Lord de Vienne wept bitterly. 

After a short time the most wealthy citizen of the town, by 
name Eustace de St. Pierre, rose up and said, " Gentlemen, both 
high and low, it would be a very great pity to suffer so many 
people to die through famine, if any means could be found to 
prevent it; and it would be highly meritorious in the eyes of our 
Savior, if such misery could be averted. I have such faith and 
trust in finding grace before God, if I die to save my towns- 
men, that I name myself as first of the six." When Eustace 
had done speaking, they all rose up and almost worshiped him: 
many cast themselves at his feet with tears and groans. An- 
other citizen, very rich and respected, rose up and said that 
he would be the second to his companion, Eustace; his name 
was John Daire. After him, James Wisant, who was very 
rich in merchandise and lands, offered himself, as companion 
to his two cousins; as did Peter Wisant, his brother. Two 
others then named themselves, which completed the number 
demanded by the king of England. Lord John de Vienne then 
mounted a small hackney, for it was with difficulty that he 
could walk, and conducted them to the gate. 

There was the greatest sorrow and lamentation all over the 
town; and in such manner were they attended to the gate, 
which the governor ordered to be opened, and then shut upon 
him and the six citizens, whom he led to the barriers. He then 
said to Sir Walter Manny, who was there waiting for him, 
"I deliver up to you, as governor of Calais, with the consent of 
the inhabitants, these six citizens; and I swear to you that they 
were, and are at this day, the most wealthy and respectable 
inhabitants of Calais. I beg of you, gentle sir, that you would 
have the goodness to beseech the king that they may not be 
put to death." "I cannot answer for what the king will do 
with them," replied Sir Walter, "but you may be sure that I 
will do all in my power to save them." . . . 

When Sir Walter Manny had presented these six citizens 
to the king, they fell upon their knees and, with uplifted hands, 

Surrender of Calais 133 

said, "Most gallant king, see before you six citizens of Calais, 
who have been important merchants and who bring you the 
keys of the castle and of the town. We surrender ourselves 
to your absolute will and pleasure, in order to save the remainder 
of the inhabitants of Calais, who have suffered much distress 
and misery. Condescend, therefore, out of your nobleness 
of mind, to have mercy and compassion upon us." All the 
barons, knights, and squires, who were assembled there in 
great numbers, wept at this sight. The king eyed them with 
angry looks (for he hated much the people of Calais, for the 
great losses he had formerly suffered from them at sea), and 
ordered their heads to be stricken off. 

All present entreated the king that he would be more merci- 
ful to them, but he would not listen to them. Then Sir Walter 
Manny said, "Ah, gentle king, let me beseech you to restrain 
your anger; you have the reputation of great nobleness of 
soul, do not therefore tarnish it by such an act as this, nor 
allow anyone to speak in a disgraceful manner of you. In 
this instance all the world will say you have acted cruelly, if 
you put to death six such respectable persons, who, of their 
own free will, have surrendered themselves to your mercy, in 
order to save their fellow-citizens." Upon this, the king gave 
a sign, saying; "Be it so," and ordered the headsman to be sent 
for; since the citizens of Calais had done him so much damage, 
it was proper they should suffer for it. 

But the queen of England fell on her knees and with tears 
said, "Ah, gentle sir, since I have crossed the sea with great 
danger to see you, I have never asked you one favor; now, 
I most humbly ask as a gift, for the sake of the Son of the blessed 
Mary, and for your love to me, that you will be merciful to 
these six men." The king looked at her for some time in silence, 
and then said, "Ah, lady, I wish you had been anywhere else 
than here, you have entreated in such a manner that I cannot 
refuse you; I therefore give them to you, to do as you please 
with them." The queen conducted the six citizens to her 
apartments and had the halters taken from around their necks, 

134 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

after which she newly clothed them and served them with a 
plentiful dinner: she then presented each one with a sum of 
money and had them escorted out of the camp in safety. 

67. Battle of Poitiers ^ 

The Black Prince, who had won his spurs at Crecy, gained a famous 
victory, ten years later, over the French king John, at Poitiers. As 
at Crecy, the French outnumbered the English about three to one, 
but bad generalship prevented them from using effectively their supe- 
rior force. Once more, too, the longbow, in the hands of sturdy English 
archers proved its effectiveness against mail-clad knights. 

To say the truth, the English archers were of infinite service 
to their army; for they shot so thickly and so well that the 
French did not know which way to turn themselves to avoid 
the arrows; by this means they kept advancing by httle and 
little and gained ground. When the men-at-arms perceived 
that the first battalion was beaten, and that the one under 
the duke of Normandy was in disorder and beginning to open, 
they hastened to mount their horses, which they had close at 
hand. As soon as they were all mounted, they gave a shout of 
"St. George, for Guienne!" and Sir John Chandos said to the 
prince, "Sir, sir, now push forward, for the day is ours; God 
will this day put it in your hand. Let us make for our adver- 
sary the king of France; for where he is will lie the main stress 
of the business; I well know that his valor will not let him fly; 
and he will remain with us, if it please God and St. George; 
but he must be well fought with; and you have before said that 
you would show yourself this day a good knight." The prince 
replied, "John, get forward; you shall not see me turn my 
back this day, but I will always be among the foremost." He 
then said to Sir Walter Woodland, his banner-bearer, "Banner, 
advance, in the name of God and St. George." ^ The knight 
obeyed the commands of the prince. In that part of the field 
the battle was very hot, and greatly crowded; many a knight 

1 Froissart, Chroniqiies, bk. i, pt. ii, chs. 41-42, 44-4S, 49- 
^ The patron saint of England. 

Battle of Poitiers 135 

was unhorsed, and you must know that whenever anyone fell, 
he could not get up again, unless he were quickly assisted. 

King John, on his part, proved himself a good knight; and, 
if a fourth of his people had behaved as well, the day would 
have been his own. Those, however, who had remained with 
him acquitted themselves to the best of their power, and were 
either slain or taken prisoners. Scarcely any who were with the 
king attempted to escape. . . . King John himself did wonders: 
he was armed with a battle-ax, with which he fought and 
defended himself. . . . There was much pressing at this time, 
through eagerness to capture the king; and those who were 
nearest to him and knew him cried out, "Surrender yourself, 
surrender yourself, or you are a dead man." In that part of 
the field was a young knight from St. Omer, who was engaged 
at a salary in the service of the king of England; his name was 
Denys de Morbeque. ... It fortunately happened for this knight 
that he was at the time near to the king of France, when he 
was so much pulled about. Denys, by dint of force, for he was 
very strong and robust, pushed through the crowd and said to 
the king in good French, ''Sire, sire, surrender yourself." The 
king, who found himself very disagreeably situated, turning 
to him, asked, ''To whom shall I surrender myself: to whom? 
Where is my cousin, the Prince of Wales? If I could see him, 
I would speak to him." "Sire," replied Denys, "he is not 
here; but surrender yourself to me and I will lead you to him." 
" Who are you? " said the king. " Sire, I am Denys de Morbeque, 
a knight from Artois; but I serve the king of England, because 
I cannot belong to France, having forfeited all I possessed 
there. The king then gave him his right-hand glove and 
said, "I surrender myself to you." There was much crowding 
and pushing about, for every one was eager to cry out, "I have 
taken him." Neither the king nor his youngest son Philip 
was able to get forward and free himself from the throng. . . . 

The king, to escape from this peril, said, " Gentlemen, gentle- 
men, I pray you conduct me and my son in a courteous manner 
to my cousin, the prince; and do not make such a riot about 

136 Episodes of the Hundred Years' War 

my capture, for I am so great a lord that I can make all suffi- 
ciently rich." These words, and others which fell from the king, 
appeased them a Uttle; but the disputes were always begin- 
ning again, and they did not move a step without rioting. 
When the prince's barons saw this troop of people, they stuck 
spurs into their horses and hastened up to them. On their 
arrival, they asked what was the matter; they were answered 
that it was the king of France, who had been made prisoner, 
and that upwards of ten knights and squires challenged him 
at the same time as belonging to each of them. The two barons 
then pushed through the crowd by main force, and ordered all 
to draw aside. They commanded, in the name of the prince, 
and under pain of instant death, that every one should keep 
his distance and not approach unless ordered or desired so to 
do. They all retreated behind the king; and the two barons, 
dismounting, advanced to the king with profound reverences 
and conducted him in a peaceable manner to the Prince of Wales. 
When evening had come, the Prince of Wales gave a supper 
in his pavilion to the king of France, and to the greater part 
of the princes and barons who were prisoners. The prince 
seated the king of France and his son Philip at an elevated and 
well-covered table. . . . The other knights and squires were 
placed at different tables. The prince himself served the king's 
table, as well as the others, with every mark of humility, and 
would not sit down at it, in spite of all his entreaties for him so 
to do, saying that "he was not worthy of such an honor, nor 
did it appertain to him to seat himself at the table of so great 
a king, or of so valiant a man as he had shown himself by his 
actions that day." He added also with a noble air, "Dear 
sir, do not make a poor meal because the Almighty God has 
not gratified your wishes in the event of this day; for be assured 
that my lord and father will show you every honor and friend- 
ship in his power, and will arrange your ransom so reasonably 
that you will henceforward always remain friends. In my 
opinion, you have cause to be glad that the success of this 
battle did not turn out as you desired; for you have this day 

Battle of Poitiers 


acquired such high renown for prowess that you have surpassed 
all the best knights on your side. I do not, dear sir, say this 
to flatter you, for all those of our side who have seen and ob- 
served the actions of each party have unanimously allowed this 
to be your due and decree you the prize and garland for it." 
At the end of this speech there were murmurs of praise heard 
from every one; and the French said the prince had spoken 
nobly and truly and that he would be one of the most gallant 
rulers in Christendom, if God should grant him life to pursue 
his career of glory. 



Philippe de Commines (about 1445-1511) was a promi- 
nent member of the French court during the reigns of 
Louis XI and Charles VIII. As a diplomat and minister 
he became intimately familar with European pohtics, and 
in his Memoirs, written in retirement during his later 
years, he has left us an extended account of what he 
saw and did. Commines has been called the "father of 
modern history." The title is not undeserved, for he 
was the first European historian who gave up the prac- 
tice of merely chronicling events and attempted, instead, 
to delineate the characters of men and the causes and 
consequences of their actions. As a writer Commines 
was inferior to his French predecessors, Joinville ^ and 
Froissart,^ but as a thinker he was much their superior. 

68. Character of Louis XI " 

Commines has drawn a faithful portrait of his patron, Louis XI 
(1461-1483), the crafty king who labored with such success to break 
the power of feudalism in France and make that country a strong, cen- 
tralized state. 

The chief reason that has induced me to enter upon this 
subject is that I have seen many deceptions, especially in serv- 
ants toward their masters; and I have always found that 
proud and stately princes who will hear but few are more likely 

1 The Memoirs of Philippe de Commines, the translation revised by A. R. Scoble. 
2 vols. London, 1855. George Bell and Sorts. 

- See page 118. 3 See page 125. 

* Commines, Memoires, bk. i, ch. 10. 

Character of Louis XI 139 

to be imposed on than those who are open and accessible. 
Of all the princes that I ever knew, the wisest and most dexterous 
to extricate himself out of any danger or difficulty in time of 
adversity was my master, Louis XL He was very humble 
in his conversation and habit, and the most careful and inde- 
fatigable to win over any man to his side that he thought cap- 
able of doing him either mischief or service. Though he was 
often refused, he would never give over a man that he wished 
to gain, but still pressed and continued his insinuations, making 
great promises to him, and presenting him with such sums and 
honors as he knew would gratify his ambitions. . . . 

He was naturally kind and indulgent to persons of mean 
estate, and hostile to all great men who had no need of him. 
No prince was more easy to converse with, or more inquisi- 
tive, than he, for his desire was to know everybody he could; 
and indeed he knew all persons of any authority or worth in 
England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, in the territories of the 
dukes of Burgundy and Brittany, and among his own subjects. 
By these qualities he preserved the crown upon his head, which 
was in much danger by the enemies he had created for himself 
upon his accession to the throne. But above all, his great 
bounty and liberality did him the utmost service; and yet, as 
he behaved with much wisdom in time of distress, so when he 
thought himself a little out of danger ... he would disoblige 
the servants and officers of his court by mean and petty ways, 
which were Uttle to his advantage; and as for peace, he could 
hardly endure the thought of it. 

He spoke slightingly of most people, and rather before their 
faces than behind their backs, unless he was afraid of them, and 
of that sort there were a great many, for he was naturally some- 
what timorous. When he had done himself any harm by his 
talk, or was apprehensive he should do so and wished to make 
amends, he would say to the person whom he had disobliged, 
"I am sensible my tongue has done me a great deal of mis- 
chief; but, on the other hand, it has sometimes done me much 
good; however, it is but reasonable that I should make some 

I40 Memoirs of a French Courtier 

reparation for the injury." And he never used this kind of 
apology without granting some favor to the person to whom 
he made it, and it was always of considerable amount. 

It was certainly a great blessing from God upon my prince 
to have experienced adversity as well as prosperity, good as 
well as evil, especially if the good outweighs the evil, as it did 
in the case of the king, my master. I am of opinion that the 
troubles he was involved in, while a youth, when he fled from his 
father and resided for six years ^ with Philip, duke of Burgundy, 
were of great service to him; for there he learned to be com- 
plaisant to such as he had occasion to use, which was no slight 
advantage of adversity. As soon as he found himself a power- 
ful and crowned king, his mind was wholly bent upon revenge; 
but he quickly discovered the inconvenience of this, repented 
by degrees of his indiscretion, and made sufficient reparation 
for his folly and error, by regaining those he had injured. 

I am very confident that if his education had not been different 
from the usual education of such nobles as I have seen in France, 
he could not so easily have worked himself out of his troubles. 
For the French nobles are brought up to nothing but to make 
themselves ridiculous, both in their clothes and discourse; 
they have no knowledge of letters; no wise man is suffered to 
come near them, to improve their understanding; they have 
governors who manage their business, but they themselves do 
nothing; nay, there are some nobles who, though they have a 
large income, will take pride to bid you, "Go to my servants, 
and let them answer you"; thinking by such speeches to imitate 
the state and grandeur of a prince. I have seen their servants 
take great advantage of them, giving them to understand they 
were fools; and if afterwards they came to apply their minds 
to business and attempted to manage their own affairs, they 
began so late that they could make nothing of it. It is certain 
that all those who have performed any great or memorable 
action, worthy to be recorded in history, began always in their 

1 1456-1461. Louis XI became king in 1461, on the death of his father, Charles 

The Divided State of Europe 141 

youth; and this is to be attributed to the method of their 
education or some particular blessing from God. 

69. The Divided State of Europe 1 

I cannot understand why God has preserved the city of 
Ghent so long, a city which has occasioned so much mischief 
and which brings no good either to the public or the country 
wherein it is seated, and much less to its prince. It is not like 
Bruges, which indeed is a place of trade and of great resort 
for foreigners of all nations, in which more commodities and mer- 
chandise are disposed of than in any other town in Europe, 
so that to have had that town destroyed would have been an 
irreparable loss. ... In this respect Ghent is admirably well 
situated, for certainly the countries round about it are the 
most luxurious, the most splendid, and the most addicted to 
those pleasures to which man is inclined, of all those in Europe. 
Yet the people of Ghent are good Christians, and to out- 
ward appearance God is religiously honored and served. 

But it is not the house of Burgundy alone that has a thorn in 
its side: France has England as a check; England has Scotland ; 
and Spain, Portugal. I will not mention Granada, for its in- 
habitants are enemies to the true faith, though otherwise 
Granada has given the kingdom of Castile much trouble to 
this very day.^ 

The princes of Italy, who generally have no other title to 
their territories but what they derive from Heaven (and of 
that we can have no certain knowledge), and who rule their 
subjects with cruelty, violence, and oppression in respect to 
their taxes, are curbed and kept in check by the common- 
wealths and free states in Italy; namely, Venice, Florence, 
Genoa, Bologna, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and others. These cities 
are in a great many respects diametrically opposed, they to 
the princes, and the princes to them; and all keep a watchful 
eye over one another, that none of them may grow too powerful 

1 Commines, Memoires, bk. v, ch. i8. 

2 Granada was at this time, and until 1492, a Moorish kingdom 

142 Memoirs of a French Courtier 

for his neighbor. But to come to particulars in relation to 
the state of Italy. The house of Aragon has that of Anjou 
to curb it; the Visconti dukes of Milan have the house of 
Orleans, and though they are feeble abroad, their subjects hold 
them in great dread. The Venetians have the princes of Italy, 
but more especially the Florentines, in opposition against them; 
and the Florentines, the neighboring commonwealths of Siena 
and Genoa. The Genoese are sufficiently plagued with their 
own bad government and treachery toward each other, not 
to mention their factions and parties; but this everybody knows 
so well that I shall dwell no longer on it. 

In Germany you are well acquainted with the animosity 
that rages between the houses of Austria and Bavaria, and how 
the house of Bavaria is divided within itself. The house of 
Austria again has the Swiss for its enemy, upon the account only 
of a small canton, called Schw^z (not able to raise six hundred 
men). Now, however, the whole country takes its name from 
it, and is so increased in power and riches that two of the best 
towns belonging to the house of Austria are Zurich and Fribourg, 
both of which are in Switzerland. Besides, the Swiss have 
won several memorable battles, and have slain several of the 
dukes of Austria in the field. 

There are also many other factions and private animosities 
in Germany; the house of Cleves against the house of Guelders, 
and the dukes of Guelders against the dukes of Juliers. The 
Easterlings ^ (that remote people in the north) withstand the 
kings of Denmark; and, to speak in general of all Germany, 
there are so many fortified places, and so many people in them 
ready for all manner of mischief (as plundering, robbing, and 
killing) upon every trivial occasion, that it is a wonder to think 
of it. A private person, with only one servant to wait on him, 
will defy a whole city, and declare war against a duke, that he 
may have a pretense to rob him; especially if he has a little 
castle, perched upon a rock, to retreat to, where he can keep 
twenty or thirty horsemen to scour the country and plunder 

1 North Germans. 

A Description of Venice 143 

according to his directions. Robbers of this kind are seldom 
punished by the German princes, who employ them upon all 
occasions; but the towns and free states punish them severely 
whenever they catch any of them, and have often besieged and 
blown up their castles. ... So that these princes and towns in 
Germany are placed in this opposition and discord, that no 
one may encroach upon his neighbor — a situation which is 
absolutely necessary, not only in Germany, but all the world 
over. . . . 

70. A Description of Venice ^ 

In 1495 Charles VIII sent Commines as ambassador to Venice. 
That city-republic was then at the height of its power and splendor. 

... I was extremely surprised at the situation of this city, 
where so many churches, monasteries, and houses are all in 
the water. The people have no other passage up and down 
the streets but in boats, of which, I believe, they have about 
thirty thousand, but these are very small. About the city 
there are seventy religious houses, both of men and women. 
The houses are situated on little islands, and are very beauti- 
ful and magnificent both in building and furniture, with fair 
gardens belonging to them. . . . Indeed, it is most strange to 
behold so many stately churches in the sea. . . . 

I was conducted through the principal street, which they call 
the Grand Canal. It is so wide that galleys frequently cross 
one another; indeed I have seen vessels of four hundred tons 
or more ride at anchor just by the houses. It is the fairest and 
best-built street, I think, in the world, and goes quite through 
the city. The houses are very large. and lofty, and built of 
stone; the old ones are all painted; those of about a hundred 
years standing are faced with white marble from Istria ^ (which 
is about a hundred miles from Venice), and inlaid with porphyry 
and serpentine. Within, most of them have at least two cham- 
bers adorned with gilt ceihngs, rich marble chimney-pieces, 

1 Commines, Memo ires, bk. \di, ch. i8. 

2 The peninsula of Istria, projecting into the Adriatic. 

144 Memoirs of a French Courtier 

gilded bedsteads, and splendid furnishings. In short, it is the 
most splendid city that I have ever seen, the most respectful 
to all ambassadors and strangers, governed with the greatest 
wisdom, and serving God with the most solemnity; so that, 
though in other things the inhabitants might be faulty, I believe 
God blesses them for the reverence they show in the service of 
the Church. . . . 

I deUvered my credentials to the doge,^ who presides in all 
their councils and is honored as a king. All letters are addressed 
to him, but of himself he cannot do much; yet this one had 
greater authority than any of his predecessors, for he had been 
doge for over twelve years. I found him a prudent man, of 
great experience in the affairs of Italy, and civil and courteous 
in his person. The first day of my arrival was spent in ex- 
changing compliments and viewing three or four chambers in 
the doge's palace, in which the ceihngs, beds, and portals were 
all richly gilded; the apartments are very fine, but the court 
is not large. The palace is luxurious in all its appointments, 
being built of finely carved marble. The whole front and 
facings are of stone, with gilt an inch thick. . . . The doge 
from his own chamber can hear mass at the high altar in the 
church of St. Mark, which, for a church, is the most magnifi- 
cent piece of building in the world, being built of mosaic work 
in every part. The Venetians pretend to be the inventors of 
this mosaic work; and, indeed, it is a great trade among them, 
as I have seen. 

In this church their treasure (of which so much is said) is 
kept, and intended only for the decoration of their churches: 
there are twelve or fourteen rubies, the largest I ever saw; 
one of them weighs seven, the other, eight hundred carats, 
but both of them are unpoHshed; there are twelve other stones 
in cases of gold, with the edges and forepart set richly with very 
fine jewels. There are also twelve crowns of gold, wherewith, 
anciently, upon certain festivals in the year, twelve women of 
the city were crowned; and being styled and attended as queens, 

1 Agostino Barbarigo, elected doge in i486, held the office for fifteen years. 



they passed in great pomp and solemnity through all the churches 
and islands. . . . There is also a great store of rich ornaments 
for the church, with several fair pieces of gold, many fine ame- 
thysts and agates, and some small emeralds. But this is not 
a treasure of equal value with ready money, and, indeed, they 
have not much of that kind of treasure; for the doge told me 
in the senate-house that it is a capital crime among them to 
suggest collecting a treasure of that nature; and they are right, 
for it might cause dissension among them. 

After they had shown me their treasure, I was carried to see 
their arsenal, where their galleys are equipped and all things 
necessary provided for their navy. The Venetian navy is, 
perhaps, even now the finest in the world, and was formerly 
under better order and regulation. . . . 

71. Savonarola ^ 

The Memoirs of Commines contains a very interesting account of 
the Italian preacher and martyr, Girolamo Savonarola. He belonged 
to the Dominican order of friars, and during the years 1490-1498 
stirred all Florence by his fiery preaching. Savonarola began as a 
religious reformer and directed his attacks against the sins of the Flor- 
entines. His influence soon became very great, and before long this 
plain, earnest, God-fearing monk was the real head of the state and 
dictator of Florence. Commines made his acquaintance in 1495. 

I had almost forgotten to mention that while I was at Flor- 
ence I went to pay a visit to a certain friar called Girolamo, 
who, by report, was a very holy man, and had lived in a re- 
formed convent fifteen years. . . . The occasion of my going to 
visit him was that he had always, both in the pulpit and else- 
where, spoken much in the favor of the French king,^ and his 
words had kept the Florentines from confederating against us; 
for never had any preacher so much authority in a city. What- 
ever had been said or written to the contrary, he always affirmed 
that our king would come into Italy, saying that he was sent 
by God to chastise the tyranny of the princes, and that none 

1 Commines, Memoires, bk. viii, ch. 3. 2 Charles VIII. 

146 Memoirs of a French Courtier 

would be able to oppose him. He foretold likewise that the king 
would come to Pisa and enter it, and that the state of Florence 
would be dissolved on that day. And so it fell out; for Pietro 
de' Medici was driven out that very day. Many other things 
he predicted long before they came to pass: as, for instance, 
the death of Lorenzo de' Medici; ^ and he openly declared that 
he knew it by revelation. He likewise predicted that the ref- 
ormation of the Church would be owing to the sword. This 
is not yet accomphshed; but it very nearly occurred, and he 
still maintains that it will come to pass. 

Many persons blamed him for pretending to receive divine 
revelations, but others believed him; for my part I think him 
a good man. I asked him whether our king would return 
safe into France, considering the great preparations of the 
Venetians against him, of which he gave a better account than 
I could, though I had lately come from Venice. He told me 
the king would meet with difficulties by the way, but he would 
overcome them all with honor, though he had but a hundred 
men in his company; for God, who had conducted him thither, 
would guard him back again. But because he had not applied 
himself, as he ought, to the reformation of the Church, and 
because he had permitted his soldiers to rob and plunder the 
poor people (as well those who had freely opened their gates to 
him as the enemy who had opposed him), therefore God had 
pronounced judgment against him, and in a short time he would 
receive chastisement. 

However, he bade me tell him that if he would have com- 
passion upon the people, and order his soldiers to do them no 
wrong and punish them when they did, as it was his business 
to do, God would then mitigate, if not revoke, his sentence; 
but that it would not be sufficient for him to plead that he did 
them no wrong himself. He also said that he would meet the 
king when he came, and tell him so from his own mouth; and 
this he did, and pressed hard for the restitution of the Florentine 

^ Lorenzo de' Medici, despot of Florence, died in 1492. He was succeeded by 
his son, Pietro de' Medici, who ruled for only two years. 

Death of Savonarola 147 

towns. When he mentioned the sentence of God against 
him, the death of the Dauphin ^ came very fresh into my mind; 
for I knew nothing else that could touch the king so sensibly. 
This I have thought fit to record, to make it the more manifest 
that this whole expedition was a mystery conducted by God 

72. Death of Savonarola 2 

In my relation of the affairs of Italy, I have mentioned a 
Dominican friar who lived at Florence for the space of fifteen 
years, in great reputation for the sancity of his life, and whom 
I saw and conversed with in the year 1495. His name was 
Girolamo, and he had foretold several things which afterwards 
came to pass. He had always affirmed that the king of France 
would make a journey into Italy, declaring it publicly in his 
sermons, and asserting that he knew it as a revelation from God, 
by whom he pronounced our king to have been chosen to reform 
the Church by the sword and to chastise the insolence of tyrants. 
But his pretending to receive revelations created for him many 
enemies, made him incur the displeasure of the pope,^ and gained 
him ill-will from several in Florence. His life and discourses 
(as far as could be discovered) were the severest and most 
holy in the world, for he was declaiming perpetually against 
sin and making many proselytes in that city. 

In the same year 1498, and within four or five days after 
the death of King Charles VIII, died Friar Girolamo also. 
I mention these facts together, because he had always publicly 
asserted that the king would return again into Italy, to accom- 
plish the commission which God had given him for the re- 
forming of the Church by the sword, and the expulsion of 
tryants out of Italy; and that in case the king refused or neg- 
lected it, God would punish him severely. . . . His threats 
to the king of God's severe anger if he did not return to Italy, 
he wrote several times to his majesty a little before his death; 

1 Charles Orlando, the eldest son of Charles VIII, died in 1495, when only three 
years of age. 

2 Commines, Memoires, bk. viii, ch. 26. ^ Alexander VI. 

148 Memoirs of a French Courtier 

and he told me as much on my return from Italy, assuring me 
that sentence was pronounced in heaven against the king, pro- 
vided he refused to observe what God had commanded and 
did not keep his soldiers from plundering. 

About the time of the king's death there were great divisions 
among the Florentines. Some expected the king's return and 
very earnestly desired it, upon confidence in Friar Girolamo's 
assurance; and in that confidence they exhausted and ruined 
themselves in their expenses to promote the recovery of Pisa 
and the rest of the towns which they had delivered to the king; 
but Pisa remained in possession of the Venetians. Some of 
the citizens were for siding with the league and deserting our 
king; and these alleged that all was but folly and delusion, 
and that Friar Girolamo was a heretic and a hypocrite, and 
that he ought to be put into a sack and thrown into the river; 
but he had friends in the town who protected him against that 
fate. The pope and the duke of Milan wrote often against him, 
assuring the Florentines that Pisa and the rest of their towns 
should be restored, if they would abandon our king and punish 
Friar Girolamo. It accidentally happened that at the time of 
the king's death the Signory ^ consisted chiefly of Friar Giro- 
lamo's enemies (for the Signory in that city is changed every 
two months). They incited a Franciscan friar to quarrel with 
him and to proclaim him a heretic and an abuser of the 
people, in pretending to revelation, and to declare publicly 
that he had no such gift. To prove what he said, the Franciscan 
challenged Friar Girolamo to the ordeal of fire before the Si- 

Friar Girolamo had more wisdom than to accept this chal- 
lenge; but one of his brethren offered to do it for him, and an- 
other of the Franciscans volunteered to do as much on the 
other side; so that a day was appointed when they were to 
come to their trial. Both of them presented themselves to 
enter the fire accompanied by all the friars of their orders. 
The Dominican brought the Host in his hand, which the Si- 

1 The governing body of Florence. 

Death of Savonarola 149 

gnory and Franciscans insisted he should put aside; but the 
Dominican, being obstinate to the contrary and resolved not 
to part with it, they all returned to their convents. Where- 
upon the people, encouraged by Friar Girolamo's enemies and 
authorized by the Signory, went to his convent and fetched 
him and two more of his brethren out, and tortured them most 
cruelly. . . . The pope sent them power and commission to make 
out process against him, and at last he and his two brethren 
were burnt.^ 

The charge against him consisted only of two articles: that 
he created disorder in the city; and that he was an impostor. 
. . . For my own part I will neither condemn nor excuse him, 
nor will I say they did ill or well in putting him to death; but 
I am sure he foretold several things which afterwards came to 
pass and which all his friends in Florence could never have 
suggested. And as to our master and the evils with which he 
threatened him, they happened exactly as you have heard: 
first, the death of the Dauphin, and then his own death; pre- 
dictions of which I have seen in letters under Friar Girolamo's 
own hand to the king. 

^ May 23, i4g8. 



The Gesta Romanorum, the most popular story book 
of the Middle Ages, is a Latin collection of short, pithy 
tales probably compiled toward the end of the thirteenth 
century. Perhaps the collection began as a series of 
narratives from Roman history, but, if so, it was soon 
enlarged with stories derived from Oriental and other 
sources. The work owes its name. Deeds of the Romans, 
to the fact that every narrative in the original compila- 
tion is assigned to some emperor who had or had not 
reigned in Rome. Nothing at all is known as to the 
authorship of the book; we are not even sure whether it 
originated in Germany, France, or England. These 
tales were intended to be used by preachers to enforce 
and enliven their sermons from the pulpit. Each story, 
accordingly, concluded with an " Application " or '' Moral. " 
It must be admitted that the author or authors often 
displayed considerable ingenuity in extracting moral les- 
sons from stories of the most fanciful sort. The Gesta 
Romanorum has a certain literary interest as the source 
from which such writers as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and 
Schiller drew materials for their own compositions. 

73. Dead Alexander 2 

We read that at the death of Alexander a golden sepulcher 
was constructed, and that a number of philosophers assembled 

1 Gesta Romanorum, translated by Charles Swan, revised by Wynnard Hooper. 
London, 1877. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Gesta Romanorum, No. 31. 

The Eight Pennies 151 

around it. One said, "Yesterday, Alexander made a treasure 
of gold; to-day, gold makes a treasure of him." Another ob- 
served, "Yesterday, the whole world was not enough to satisfy 
his ambition; to-day, three or four ells of cloth are more than 
sufficient." A third said, "Yesterday, Alexander commanded 
the people; to-day, the people command him." Another said, 
"Yesterday, Alexander could enfranchise thousands; to-day, 
he cannot free himself from the bonds of death." Another 
remarked, "Yesterday, he pressed the earth; to-day, it op- 
presses him." "Yesterday," continued another, "all men 
feared Alexander; to-day, men consider him nothing." Another 
said, "Yesterday, Alexander had a multitude of friends; to- 
day, not one." Another said, "Yesterday, Alexander led on 
an army; to-day, that army bears him to the grave." 

Application. — My beloved, anyone may be called Alexander 
who is rich and worldly minded; and to him may the observa- 
tions of the philosophers be truly applied. 

74. The Eight Pennies 1 

When Titus was emperor of Rome, he made a decree that the 
natal day of his first-born son should be held sacred, and that 
whosoever violated it by any kind of labor should be put to 
death. Then he called Vergil ^ to him and said, " Good friend, 
I have made a certain law; I desire you to frame some 
curious piece of art which may reveal to me every transgressor 
of the law." Vergil constructed a magic statue and caused 
it to be set up in the midst of the city. By virtue of the 
secret powers with which it was invested, it told the emperor 
whatever was done amiss. And thus by the accusation of the 
statue an infinite number of persons were convicted and 

Now there was a certain carpenter, called Focus, who pur- 
sued his occupation every day alike. Once, as he lay in bed, 

1 Gesta Romanorum, No. 57. 

2 The Roman poet Vergil during medieval times was popularly reputed to have 
been a magician possessed of marvelous powers. 

152 Medieval Tales 

his thoughts turned upon the accusations of the statue, and 
the multitudes which it had caused to perish. In the morning 
he clothed himself and proceeded to the statue, which he ad- 
dressed in the following manner: "O statue! statue! because 
of thy informations many of our citizens have been taken and 
slain. I vow to my God, that if thou accusest me, I will break 
thy head." Having so said, he returned home. 

About the first hour, the emperor, as he was wont, sent 
messengers to the statue to inquire if the edict had been strictly 
complied with. After they had arrived and had delivered the 
emperor's message, the statue exclaimed, "Friends, look up; 
what see ye written upon my forehead?" They looked, and 
beheld three sentences which ran thus: "Times are altered. 
Men grow worse. He who speaks truth has his head broken." 
"Go," said the statue, "declare to his majesty what you have 
seen and read." The messengers obeyed and detailed the cir- 
cumstances as they had happened. 

The emperor therefore commanded his guard to arm and 
march to the place on which the statue was erected; and he 
further ordered that if anyone presumed to molest it, the 
offender should be bound hand and foot and dragged into his 

The soldiers approached the statue and said, "Our emperor 
wills you to declare the name of the scoundrel who threatens 

The statue made answer, "It is Focus the carpenter. Every 
day he violates the law, and, moreover, menaces me with a 
broken head if I expose him." 

Focus was immediately apprehended and conducted to the 
emperor, who said, "Friend, what do I hear of thee? Why 
hast thou broken my law?" 

"My lord," answered Focus, "I cannot keep it; for I am 
obliged to obtain every day eight pennies, which, without in- 
cessant work, I have not the means of getting." 

"And why eight pennies?" said the emperor. 

"Every day through the year," returned the carpenter, "I 

The Three Truths 153 

am bound to repay two pennies which I borrowed in my youth; 
two I lend; two I lose; and two I spend." 

''For what reason do you this?" asked the emperor. 

"My lord," he replied, "listen to me. I am bound each 
day to repay two pennies to my father; for, when I was a boy, my 
father expended upon me daily the like sum. Now he is poor 
and needs my assistance, and therefore I return what I borrowed 
formerly. Two other pennies I lend to my son, who is pursuing 
his studies; in order that, if by any chance I should fall into 
poverty, he may restore the loan, just as I have done to his 
grandfather. Again, I lose two pennies every day on my wife; 
for she is contentious, wilful, and passionate. Now, because 
of this disposition,! account whatsoever is given to her entirely 
lost. Lastly, two other pennies I expend upon myself in meat 
and drink. I cannot do with less, nor can I earn them without 
unremitting labor. You now know the truth; and, I pray you, 
judge fairly and truly." 

"Friend," said the emperor, "thou hast answered well. 
Go, and labor earnestly in thy calling." 

Soon after this the emperor died, and Focus the carpenter, 
on account of his singular wisdom, was elected in his stead by 
the unanimous choice of the whole nation. He governed as 
wisely as he had lived; and at his death, his picture, bearing 
on the head eight pennies, was placed among the efiiigies of 
the deceased emperors. 

Application. — My beloved, the emperor is God, who ap- 
pointed Sunday as a day of rest. By Vergil is typified the 
Holy Spirit, which ordains a preacher to declare men's virtues 
and vices. Focus is any good Christian who labors diligently 
in his vocation and performs faithfully every duty. 

75. The Three Truths 1 

A certain king, named Asmodeus, established an ordinance 
by which every malefactor taken and brought before the judge 

1 Gesia Romanorum, No. 58. 

154 Medieval Tales 

should distinctly declare three truths, against which no excep- 
tion could be taken, or else be hanged. If, however, he did 
this, his life and property should be safe. It chanced that a 
certain soldier transgressed the law and fled. He hid himself 
in a forest and there committed many atrocities, despoiling 
and slaying whomsoever he could lay his hands upon. When 
the judge of the district ascertained his haunt, he ordered the 
forest to be surrounded and the soldier to be seized and brought 
bound to the seat of judgment. 

"You know the law," said the judge. 

"I do," returned the other. "If I declare three unquestion- 
able truths I shall be free; but if not, I must die." 

"True," replied the judge; " take then advantage of the law's 
clemency, or undergo the punishment it awards without de- 

"Cause silence to be kept," said the soldier undauntedly. 

His wish being complied with, he proceeded in the following 
manner: "The first truth is this. I protest before ye all that, 
from my youth up, I have been a bad man." 

The judge, hearing this, said to the bystanders, "He says 
true?" They answered, "Else he had not now been in this 
situation." "Go on, then," said the judge. "What is the 
second truth?" 

"I like not," exclaimed he, "the dangerous situation in which 
I stand." 

"Certainly," said the judge, "we may credit thee. Now 
then for the third truth, and thou hast saved thy life." 

"Why," he replied, "if I once get out of this confounded 
place, I will never willingly reenter it." 

"Amen," said the judge, "thy wit hath preserved thee; 
go in peace." And thus he was saved. 

Application. — My beloved, the king is Christ. The soldier 
is any sinner; the judge is a wise confessor. If the sinner con- 
fesses the truth in such a manner as not even demons can ob- 
ject to, he shall be saved — that is, if he confesses and 

The Hermit 155 

76. The Hermit 1 

There once lived a hermit, who in a remote cave passed 
day and night in God's service. Not far from his cell there 
was a flock kept by a shepherd, who one day fell into a deep 
sleep, when a robber, seeing him careless, carried off his sheep. 
When the keeper awoke, he began to swear in good set terms 
that he had lost his sheep; and where they were gone to he 
knew not. But the lord of the flock bade him be put to death. 
This gave to the hermit great offense. "O heaven," said he 
to himself, "seest thou this deed? The innocent suffers for 
the guilty: why permittest thou such things? If thus injustice 
triumphs, why do I remain here? I will again enter the world 
and do as other men do." 

And so he left his hermitage and went again into the world; 
but God willed not that he should be lost: an angel in the form 
of a man was sent to join him. And so, crossing the hermit's 
path, he said to him, "Whither bound, my friend?" 'T go," 
said he, "to yonder city." "I will go with you," rephed the 
angel; "I am a messenger from heaven, come to be your 
companion on the way." 

So they walked on together to the city. When they had 
entered, they begged a lodging during the night at the house 
of a certain soldier, who received them cheerfully and enter- 
tained them nobly. The soldier had an only and most dear 
son lying in the cradle. After supper, their bed-chamber was 
sumptuously adorned for them, and the angel and the hermit 
went to rest. But about the middle of the night the angel 
rose and strangled the sleeping infant. The hermit, horror- 
struck at what he witnessed, said within himself, "Never can 
this be an angel of God. The good soldier gave us everything 
that was necessary; he had but this poor innocent child, and 
it is strangled." Yet the hermit was afraid to reprove the angel. 

In the morning both went forward to another city, in which 
they were honorably entertained at the house of one of the 
^ Gesta Romanoru?}?, No. 80. 

156 Medieval Tales 

inhabitants. This person had a rich gold cup, which he highly 
valued; and of which, during the night, the angel robbed him. 
But still the hermit held his peace, for great was his fear. 

On the morrow they went forward; and as they walked they 
came to a certain river, over which was a bridge. They went 
on the bridge, and about midway a poor pilgrim met them. 
" My friend," said the angel to him, " show us the way to yonder 
city." The pilgrim turned and pointed with his finger to the 
road they were to take; but as he turned the angel seized him 
by the shoulders and hurled him into the stream below. At 
this the terror of the hermit became greater. 'Tt is the Devil," 
he said to himself; "it is the Devil, and no good angel! What 
evil had the poor man done that he should be drowned?" 

He would now have gladly gone alone; but was afraid to 
speak his mind. About the hour of vespers they came to a 
city, in which they again sought shelter for the night; but 
the master of the house where they applied sharply refused it. 
"For the love of heaven," said the angel, "give us shelter, 
lest we fall prey to the wolves." The man pointed to a sty. 
"That," said he, "has pigs in it; if it please you to lie there 
you may, but to no other place will I admit you." "If we can 
do no better," said the angel, "we must accept your ungracious 
offer." They did so; and next morning the angel called their 
host and said, "My friend, I give you this cup"; and he gave 
him the gold cup he had stolen. The hermit, more and more 
amazed at what he saw, said to himself, "Now I am sure this is 
the Devil. The good man who received us with all kindness 
he despoiled, and now he gives the plunder to this fellow who 
refused us a lodging." 

Turning therefore to the angel, he cried, "I will travel with 
you no more. I commend you to God." "Dear friend," 
the angel said, "first hear me and then go thy way." 

The Explanation. — "When thou wert in thy hermitage, 
the owner of the flock unjustly put to death his servant. True 
it is he died innocent, and therefore was in a fit state to enter 
another world. God permitted him to be slain, foreseeing 

The Laziest Son 157 

that, if he hved, he would commit a sin and die before repent- 
ance followed. But the guilty man who stole the sheep will 
suffer eternally; while the owner of the flock, by alms and 
good works, will make amends for the sin which he committed. 
As for the son of the hospitable soldier whom I strangled in 
the cradle, know that before the boy was born his father did 
numerous works of charity and mercy; but afterwards grew 
parsimonious and covetous in order to enrich the child, of whom 
he was inordinately fond. This was the cause of its death; 
and now its distressed parent is again become a devout Chris- 
tian. Then for the cup which I purloined from him who re- 
ceived us so kindly, know that before the cup was made, there 
was not a more abstemious person in the world; but afterwards 
he took such pleasure in it, and drank from it so often, that he 
was intoxicated twice or thrice during the day. I took away 
the cup, and he has returned to his former sobriety. Again, 
I cast the pilgrim into the river; and know that he whom I 
drowned was a good Christian, but had he proceeded much 
further, he would have fallen into a mortal sin. Now he is 
saved, and dwells in celestial glory. As for my bestowing the 
cup upon the inhospitable citizen, know nothing is done without 
reason. He suffered us to occupy the swinehouse and I gave 
him a valuable consideration. But he will, hereafter, abide in 
hell. Put a guard, therefore, on thy lips, and detract not from 
the Almighty. For he knoweth all things." 

The hermit, hearing this, fell at the feet of the angel and 
entreated pardon. He returned to his hermitage and became 
a good and pious Christian. 

77. The Laziest Son^ 

The emperor Pliny had three sons, to whom he was very 
indulgent. He wished to dispose of his kingdom, and calhng 
the three into his presence, spoke thus, ''The laziest of you shall 
reign after my death." 

^ Gesta Romanoriim, No. 91. 

158 Medieval Tales 

"Then," answered the elder, "the kingdom must be mine; 
for I am so lazy that, sitting once by the fire, I burnt my legs, 
because I was too slothful to withdraw them." 

The second son said, "The kingdom should properly be 
mine, for if I had a rope round my neck and held a sword in 
my hand, my idleness is such that I should not put forth my 
hand to cut the rope." 

"But I," said the third son, "ought to be preferred to you 
both; for I am still more lazy. While I lay upon my bed, 
water dropped from above upon my eyes; and though, from 
the nature of the water, I was in danger of becoming blind, 
I neither could nor would turn my head ever so little to the 
right hand or to the left." The emperor, hearing this, be- 
queathed the kingdom to him, thinking him the laziest of the 

Application'. — My beloved, the emperor is the Devil; and 
the three sons are different classes of corrupt men. 

78. The Basilisk ^ 

Alexander the Great was lord of the whole world. He once 
collected a large army and besieged a certain city, around 
which many knights and others were killed without any visible 
wound. Much surprised at this, he called together his philoso- 
phers and said, "My masters, how is this? My soldiers die 
and there is no apparent wound!" "No wonder," replied they; 
"under the walls of the city is a basilisk,^ whose look infects 
your soldiers, and they die of the pestilence it creates." "And 
what remedy is there for this?" said the king. 

"Place a glass in a high place between the army and the 
wall under which the basilisk cowers; and no sooner shall he 
behold it than his own figure, reflected in the mirror, shall 
return the poison upon himself and kill him." Alexander 
took their advice and thus saved his followers. 

1 Gesta Romanoriim, No. 140. 

2 The basilisk, according to the ancients, was a serpent or dragon whose breath, 
and even look, was fatal. The name of this fabulous monster is now applied to a 
species of harmless lizards. • 

The Tale of a Penny 159 

Application. — My beloved, look into the glass of reflection, 
and by remembrance of human frailty destroy the vices which 
time breeds. 

79. The Tale of a Penny ^ 

There was an emperor whose porter was very shrewd. He 
earnestly besought his master that he might have the custody 
of a city for a single month and receive, by way of tax, one 
penny from every crook-backed, one-eyed, scabby, leprous, or 
ruptured person. The emperor granted his request and con- 
firmed the gift under his own seal. 

Accordingly, the porter was installed in his office; and as 
the people entered the city he took note of their defects, and 
charged them in accordance with the grant. It happened 
that a hunch-backed fellow one day entered, and the porter 
made his demand. Hunch-back protested that he would pay 

The porter immediately laid hands upon him and, accidentally 
raising his cap, discovered that he was one-eyed also. He de- 
manded two pennies forthwith. 

The other still more vehemently opposed and would have 
fled; but the porter pulled hunch-back's cap off and disclosed 
a bald scab; whereupon he required three pennies. 

Hunch-back, very much enraged, persisted in his refusal 
and began to struggle with the porter. This caused an exposure 
of his arms, by which it became manifest that he was leprous. 
The fourth penny was therefore laid claim to; and the scuffle 
continuing, revealed a rupture, which made a fifth. 

Thus, a fellow unjustly refusing to pay a rightful demand of 
one penny, was necessitated, much against his inclination, to 
pay five. 

Application. — My beloved, the emperor is Christ. The 
porter is any prelate or discreet confessor; the ci.ty is the world. 
The diseased man is a sinner. 

^ Gesla Romanorimi, No. 157. 



France, England, and Germany are each fortunate in 
possessing an epic poem which celebrates its legendary 
heroes and at the same time furnishes an invaluable 
picture of departed ages. These three epics are the 
Song of Roland, Beowulf, and the Niheliingenlied. They 
seem to have taken shape out of minstrel songs, and for 
generations lived only on the lips of the people. Late 
in the Middle Ages they were committed to writing — • 
and doubtless much altered in the process — by writers 
whose names are unknown. The poems differ greatly 
in literary power, and none of them as a work of art can 
be compared with the Iliad or the Odyssey. 

80. The Song of Roland 2 y 

The legend of Roland rests on authentic history. Einhard, in his 
Life of Charlemagne,^ tells how that emperor invaded Spain in 778 
and warred with the Moors. On Charlemagne's return to France 
through the passes of the Pyrenees, the rearguard of his army was 
ambushed by the mountaineers and entirely destroyed. Roland, count 
of Brittany, and many other notables were killed. The scene of the 
battle was fixed by tradition as the pass of Roncesvalles. The Song 
of Roland describes Roland as the nephew of Charlemagne and the 
most eminent of the twelve peers of France. Charlemagne is repre- 
sented as having conquered all Spain, with the exception of Sara- 

1 The Song of Roland, translated by Jessie Crosland. London, 1907. Chatto 
and Windus. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnshurg, translated by J. R. C. Hall. 
London, 1901. George Allen and Unwin. The Fall of the Nibelungs, translated by 
Margaret Armour. London, 1908. J. M. Dent and Sons. 

2 Chanson de Roland, 11. 520-578, 1412-1437, 1753-1806, 2297-2396. 
^ See page 9. 

The Song of Roland i6i 

gossa, the seat of the Moorish king, Marsile. To Marsile now came 
Ganelon, whom the Frankish ruler had sent on an embassy to discuss 
terms of peace. Ganelon, inspired by hatred of Roland, agreed to 
betray him for ten mule-loads of gold. 

Then said Marsile, 'Tn truth I tell thee, Ganelon, that right 
willingly would I love thee and well it beseems us to be in friendly 
counsel. And now I wish greatly to hear thee speak of Charle- 
magne. Old he is and devoid of strength, for well I know that 
two hundred summers have passed over him.^ Many are the 
lands through which his feet have borne him, and many a noble 
king has he brought to beggary. Now is it high time that he 
return to Aix^ in France, that there he may take repose for 

But Ganelon made answer, "By no means such a one is 
Charlemagne. Not a man is there that hath seen him or 
known him but full well he must confess that he hath seen a 
warrior. With very great virtue hath God endowed him. Who, 
indeed, can recount all his acts of valor? Far rather would I 
die than cease to be his baron." 

Then spake the heathen again, "Much, indeed, it marvels 
me concerning Charlemagne, that old and hoary monarch. 
Full well I know that more than two hundred years have passed 
over him. Through many lands have his feet carried him, and 
many are the blows of lance and spear which he hath given and 
the kings whom he hath brought to beggary. When will it 
come to pass that he grow weary of fighting?" 

"That will not be," quoth Ganelon, "while his nephew 
Roland is still alive, for under the whole vault of heaven is no 
such warrior as he. Exceeding valiant, too, is his comrade 
Oliver, and the twelve peers, whom the king so much cher- 
ishes, are but the leaders of twenty thousand noble French- 
men. So secure is Charlemagne that he knows not fear, and 
great would be his anguish should his knights receive dishonor. 

1 Charlemagne, born about 742, was in reality a young man at the time of his 
invasion of Spain. 

2 Aix-la-Chapelle, or Aachen. 

i62 Three Medieval Epics 

Then, indeed, would his right arm be smitten, and no longer 
would he be a vaUant warrior." 

"Sir Ganelon," quoth Marsile, ''I too have an army, and a 
finer hast thou never seen. Four hundred thousand knights 
are ever ready at my call, and can I not therewith make a 
stand against the Frenchmen?" And Ganelon made answer, 
"Not this time shalt thou conquer. Exceeding great shall be 
the loss of thy barons, if now thou shalt not submit thee to the 
law of the Christians. Leave now thy folly and abide fast by 
wisdom; then shall the emperor give thee many gifts, so that 
all those who hear it shall marvel. Nought hast thou to do 
but to send thither twenty hostages; then will the king forth- 
with retire to France, and only a rearguard shall he leave in 
Spain behind him. And here I doubt not will be left Count 
Roland, and with him his comrade Oliver, the courteous and 
vaHant. Dead are both the counts if thou but trust my words, 
and therewith is the king's pride fallen, and never more shall 
he desire to come up against thee." 

All things came out as the treacherous Ganelon had planned. Roland, 
at Ganelon's instigation, was placed in command of the rearguard. 
With him were Oliver and the other peers, and the flower of the French 
army. The Franks had nearly reached the summit of the pass when 
the Moors, four hundred thousand strong, descended on them. Oliver 
begged Roland to sound his horn and summon Charlemagne, but 
Roland, contemptuous of the foe, refused to do so. 

Marvelous was the battle and fearful to behold, and won- 
derful were the blows of Roland and Oliver. And the good 
Archbishop Turpin rendered many blows, and the twelve peers 
were foremost in the fray. And all the men of France struck 
as a single man, till the heathen lay dead in heaps around them. 
. . . Many a trusty lance of keenest edge have they left upon 
the field, and shattered all to fragments are the blades of their 
broadswords. Alas! how many a valiant warrior has perished 
— never more shall he behold his father, nor his kinsmen, nor 
Charlemagne, the noble king who awaits them on the borders. 
But all the while in France there is marvelous disorder. Tem- 

The Song of Roland 163 

pests of wind mingled with storms of rain and hail such as 
no man had ever witnessed, and fearful bolts of thunder rushed 
without ceasing downwards. There, too, in very truth was 
the earth all cleft asunder; from St. Michel to Xanten, from 
Besangon to Wissant, there was not a dwelling but the walls 
thereof were shaken. And at midday there was very great 
darkness over all the land, and unless the heavens were rent, 
there might not a ray of light be seen. Not a living being but 
was sore affrighted, and many said, "Of a certainty the end of 
the world is come, and the consummation of all things is at 
hand." Little they knew it was the mourning for the death 
of Roland. 

The Franks under Roland's leadership, performed prodigies of valor. 
They were reduced to sixty men before the hero consented to sound his 

And straightway has he raised the horn to his mouth. Firmly 
has he grasped it and sounded it with vigor. Lofty are the 
hills and very loud the echo, and the sound can be heard full 
fifteen leagues away. And Charlemagne has heard it, and all 
his host of vassals, and the king spake, "Our men are giving 
battle." But Ganelon said, ''Had another man said this, it 
would have seemed a fearful falsehood." 

With pain and in sore torment has Roland sounded his horn, 
and the bright blood is streaming from his mouth, and both 
his temples has he broken in the endeavor. But exceeding 
great and loud is the noise, and Charlemagne has heard it as 
he passed across the border; and now the Frenchmen listen. 
Then spake the king, 'T hear the horn of Roland; and never 
would he blow it unless in conflict." But Ganelon made an- 
swer, "Of battle is there nought. Old thou art, and white, 
and hoary, and by thy words thou makest thyself like to a 
child. For well indeed thou knowest the pride of Roland, and 
wonder is it in truth that God has suffered it so long. . . . Verily 
for a hare would he sound his horn all day, and even now, I 
wager, he is joking with his peers. And who, O king, on all 

164 Three Medieval Epics 

this earth would dare to challenge him? Fare onward then in 
safety, and tarry no longer, for it will be long yet ere we reach 
the land of France." 

Now is Count Roland all bleeding at the mouth, and his tem- 
ples broken with the sounding of his horn. But Charlemagne 
has heard and all his host of Frenchmen. "Very long must be 
the breath of that horn," quoth Charlemagne, and Naimes, 
duke of Bavaria, made answer, "Verily in pain must be the 
baron who sounds it, and right well I know that battle is wag- 
ing. And the traitor knows it, who would dissuade thee from 
going. Now don thine armor, and cry thy note of battle, 
and quickly bring help to the noblest of thy vassals. For 
well may St thou hear that Roland is sore beset." 

Now has the king bidden that the trumpets be sounded, 
and the Frenchmen have dismounted and donned their hau- 
berks, their helmets, and their golden swords. Fair are their 
shields and their lances long and well proven, and the pennons 
are blue and white and vermilion. And now once more they 
mount their steeds, and right swiftly they spur them till they 
have crossed the passes. And not a man there was but said to 
his neighbor, "Could we but see Roland before the heathen slay 
him, exceeding grievous blows would we deal at his side." But 
in vain they spake, for too long have they tarried. 

At last the Moors, warned of the return of Charlemagne, retreated. 
They left Roland, alone and mortally wounded, on the field of battle. 

Roland felt already that death was upon him, and he rose 
to his feet, and very great was the effort he made. And all 
the color departed from his face, but he still held in his hand 
his naked sword, Durendal. And there before him was a dark 
rock, and ten times he struck upon it in anger and in grief. 
And the steel but grated on it, nor did it break or splinter. 
Then quoth the count, "Alas! holy Mary, come hither to my 
aid! My good sword, Durendal, how do I regret thee. When 
I am dead I shall need thee no longer. Many are the battles 
that I have won through thee, and many the broad lands which 

The Song of Roland 165 

I have conquered for the hoary-headed king. May no man 
ever own thee who would flee his fellow! Never in my hfe 
have I been parted from thee, and a right good vassal has thine 
owner ever been. Never will be such another in the free land 
of France." 

Then did Roland strike once more upon the stonework of 
sardonyx, and the steel but grated, and neither broke nor 
splintered. And now, when he saw that he certainly could 
not break it, thus within himself did he begin to lament, "Ah, 
Durendal of mine, how fair thou art and glistening! How thou 
gleamest in the sunlight and throwest back its rays. . . . Many 
are the lands and countries that I have conquered with Durendal 
for my hoary-bearded master, and exceeding great is the grief 
and anguish that I feel for this sword; far rather would I 
perish than that it should fall into the hands of the heathen. 
May the God of glory grant that France shall never be thus 

Then did Roland strike for the third time upon a rock of 
gloomy hue, and beyond the power of words was the havoc that 
he wrought therein. Yet did the steel but grate, and neither 
broke nor splintered; and back again it sprang right up toward 
the heaven. And when now the count perceived that he should 
never break it, softly within himself did he begin to lament over 
it. "Ah, Durendal of mine, how good thou art and holy! 
Within thy golden pommel there are many relics. There is 
St. Peter's tooth and the blood of St. Basil; there are the hairs 
of my lord, St. Denis, and the garments of holy Mary. In 
truth it is not right that the heathen should possess thee. Never 
shouldst thou be wielded but by the hands of Christians. 
Many are the battles and the lands that I have won with thee 
for Charlemagne, the waving-bearded, and richer and more 
powerful is the king become thereby. Never shalt thou be 
borne by a man that is a coward. May God grant that France 
may never be thus dishonored." 

And when Roland felt that death had really seized upon 
him, and that it had traveled downwards from his head and 

1 66 Three Medieval Epics 

reached his very heart, then did he hastily betake himself 
beneath a pine tree, and he laid him on his face, and beneath 
him he placed both his horn and his broadsword. Toward 
the land of Spain he turned his face, so that Charlemagne and 
all his army might perceive that he died as a valiant vassal, 
with his face toward the foe. Then did he confess himself 
right zealously and held forth his glove toward heaven for his 

So Roland perceived that his life was ended in very deed. 
And there as he lay upon the summit of a hill, looking over the 
land of Spain, he beat his hand upon his breast, and thus he 
spake, "Ah, God! grant me thy pardon for the sake of thy great 
mercy ! Absolve my sins, both small and great, which I have 
ever committed from the hour that I was born till this day 
on which I perish." And he extended his right glove toward 
the God of heaven. And lo, the angels from heaven descended 
to where he lay. 

And as he lay beneath the pine tree with his countenance 
toward the land of Spain, many things came back to his re- 
membrance. He bethought him of the many lands which he 
had conquered; of the fair land of France and his many kins- 
men there; and of Charlemagne, his lord, who had trained 
him from his youth ; and of all the men of France who trusted 
in his valor. And he could not stir but the tears flowed from 
his eyelids, and deeply did he sigh within himself. But ever 
he bethought himself of his need, and confessed his sins, nor 
did he cease to pray God for his mercy. And thus he spake 
again, ''O holy Father, who speakest nought but truth, thou 
didst raise Lazarus from the dead and rescue Daniel from the 
jaws of lions. Save now my soul, I pray thee, from all the 
dangers which my transgressions have brought upon me." 
And his right glove he held ever extended toward heaven, and 
the angel Gabriel received it from his hand. Beneath his 
arm he held his trusty helmet, and with clasped hands has 
he met his end at last. For God sent down his cherubim and 
St. Michael of the Seas, and together with them came the holy 

Beowulf 167 

angel Gabriel, and straightway they bore the soul of the count 
to paradise. 

The Song of Roland ends with a description of the return of the 
Franks, the rout of the Moors, the burial of the peers who fell at Ronces- 
valles, and the trial and execution of Ganelon. 

81. Beowulf 1 

The epic of Beowulf deals with the exploits of the hero of that name. 
He is represented as the nephew of Hygelac, king of the Geatas, a 
people who hved in southern Sweden. With twelve companions 
Beowulf sailed to Denmark, for the pupose of aiding its king, Hrothgar, 
whose hall (called Heorot) for twelve years had been ravaged by the 
man-eating monster, Grendel. 

"Hail to thee, Hrothgar! I am Hygelac's kinsman and 
war-thane. I have in my youth undertaken many deeds of 
daring. Grendel's doings became plainly known to me in 
my fatherland. Seafarers say that this hall, this most noble 
building, stands empty and useless to every man after the 
evening light has become hidden under the vault of heaven. 
Then my people, the best folk, wise men, advised me to visit 
thee, because they knew the greatness of my power. They 
had themselves observed how I bound five of my foes, laid 
low a brood of giants, and slew by night sea-monsters on the 
waves; I suffered dire extremity, and avenged the attacks upon 
the Geatas — disasters had befallen them — I ground down their 
oppressors. And now I will decide the matter alone against the 
wretch, the giant Grendel! 

"Now therefore I will beg of thee one boon, thou ruler of 
the glorious Danes. Do not refuse me this, now I am come 
so far — that I alone, with my band of noble warriors, this 
troop of hardy men, may purge Heorot. Moreover, I have 
learned that in his rashness the monster recks not of weapons. 
Hence I shall not carry to the fray a sword, a shield, or a buckler, 
but with the fiend I shall close with grip of hand and fight to 
the death, foe against foe. 

1 Beowulf, II. 405-455, 710-852, 2712-2820. 

1 68 Three Medieval Epics 

"He whom death carries off shall rest assured it is God's 
will. I doubt not that if Grendel wins the combat he will 
eat fearlessly the Geatish folk in the war-hall, as he has often 
eaten the Danes. Thou wilt have no need to cover my head, for 
he will have me, blood-bespattered, if death seizes me. He 
will bear off the bloody corpse, will set his mind upon devouring 
it. The lonely one will feast unpityingly, and stain his swamp- 
lair; no longer wilt thou need to care about my body's sus- 
tenance. If battle takes me, do thou send Hygelac this best 
of armor, most excellent of corselets, which protects my 

Hrothgar accepted Beowulf's offer of aid and feasted him and his 
men in the long-deserted Heorot. At night the Danes withdrew, 
leaving the strangers alone in the hall. When all but Beowulf were 
asleep, Grendel made his appearance. 

Then came Grendel, advancing from the moor under the 
misty slopes; God's anger rested on him. The deadly foe 
thought to entrap one of the human race in the high hall; he 
strode beneath the clouds in such wise that he might best 
discern the wine-building, the gold-chamber of men, plated 
over with decorations. Nor was that the first time that he 
had visited Hrothgar's home. Never in the days of his life, 
before or since, did he discover a braver warrior and hall-guards. 
So this creature, deprived of joys, came journeying to the hall. 
The door, fastened by forged bands, opened straightway, when 
he touched it with his hands. Thus, bent on destruction, for 
he was swollen with rage, he burst open the entrance of the 

Quickly the fiend trod in on the shining floor, advanced in 
angry mood; out of his eyes there started a weird light, most 
like a flame. He saw many men in the hall, a troop of kins- 
men, a band of warriors, sleeping all together. Then his spirit 
exulted; he, the cruel monster, resolved that he would sever 
the soul of every one of them from his body before day came ; 
for the hope of feasting full had come to him. But it was no 
longer his fortune that he should devour more of the human 

Beowulf 169 

race after that night. The mighty Beowulf kept watching how 
the murderous foe would set to work with his sudden snatch- 
ings. The monster was not minded to delay, but quickly 
grasped a sleeping warrior as a first start, rent him undisturbed, 
bit his bony frame, drank blood in streams, swallowed bite 
after bite, and soon he had eaten up all of the dead man, even 
his feet and hands. 

Forward and nearer he advanced, and then seized with his 
hands the doughty warrior — the fiend reached out toward 
him with his claw. Beowulf at once took in his evil plans, and 
came down on Grendel's arm. Instantly the master of crimes 
realized that never had he met with a mightier hand-grip in 
any other man. He became affrighted in soul and spirit, but 
he could get away no faster for all that. His mind was bent 
on getting off, he wished to flee into the darkness and go back 
to the herd of devils. His case was unlike anything he had met 
with in his lifetime there before. Then Hygelac's brave kins- 
man was mindful of his evening speech; he stood erect and 
grasped Grendel tight, so that his fingers cracked. The mon- 
ster was moving out; Beowulf stepped forward, too. The 
infamous creature thought to slip farther off, wheresoever he 
could, and to flee away thence to his fen-refuge; he knew the 
power of his fingers was in the foeman's grip. That was a dire 
journey which the baleful fiend had made to Heorot! 

The splendid hall resounded, there was panic among all the 
Danes, the castle-dwellers, and among the heroes and the 
nobles. Both the mighty wardens were furious; the building 
rang again. Then was it a great wonder that the wine-hall was 
proof against the savage fighters; that the fair earthly dwell- 
ing did not fall to the ground; yet it was made firm enough for 
it, inside and out, by means of iron clamps, forged with curious 
art. There, where the foemen fought, many a mead-bench 
adorned with gilding, started from the sill. The wise ones 
among the Danes never thought that any man could shatter 
it by strength or loosen it by craft, although the embrace of 
fire might swallow it in smoke. . . . There many a noble of Beo- 

lyo Three Medieval Epics 

wulf 's company brandished an old ancestral weapon — they 
wished to protect the life of their lord, if so they might. They 
did not know, brave men of war, when they took part in the 
contest, and thought to hew Grendel on every side and hunt 
out his life, that no battle-bill on earth, no best of swords, 
could get at the foe, because he used enchantment against 
conquering weapons, every sort of blades. 

Woeful was his last end to be in this life's day and his out- 
lawed ghost was to journey far into the power of fiends. Then 
he who of yore had in wantonness of ^oul done many outrages 
to mankind, he, the rebel against God, discovered that his bodily 
frame was no help to him, but that the bold kinsman of Hygelac 
had him by the hands. While he hved, each was abhorrent to 
the other. The horrible wretch suffered deadly hurt, on his 
shoulder gaped a wound past remedy, the sinews sprang asunder, 
the fleshy covering burst. Glory in fight was granted to Beo- 
wulf; Grendel, sick unto death, must needs flee thence to the 
fen-fastnesses and seek out his joyless dwelling. He knew 
too well that the end of his life had come, the measure of his 
days. After that bloody contest, the desire of all the Danes 
had come to passl 

In such wise did he who first came from far, the wise and 
brave, purge Hrothgar's hall and free it from attack. He 
rejoiced in his night's work, in his heroic deeds. The chief 
of the Geatish men had made good his boast to the Danes, and 
removed besides all the trouble, the carking care, which ere- 
while they had endured, and had to undergo from dire compul- 
sion, no small humiliation. That was clear evidence, when 
the brave warrior deposited by the spacious roof the hand, the 
arm and shoulder — there was Grendel's clutching-Hmb all 
complete ! 

In the morning there was many a warrior gathered round the 
mead-hall, for chiefs of the folk came from far and near along 
the highways to see the marvel, the traces of the monster. 
His parting from life did not seem a cause for sorrow to any 
of the men who saw the trail of the inglorious one, how he, 

Beowulf 171 

weary in spirit and vanquished in the fight, made tracks for 
his Hfe, death-doomed and fugitive, to the lake of the water- 
demons. The water boiled with blood, the frightful surge of 
the waves welled up, all mingled with hot gore the death- 
doomed dyed it, and then, deprived of joys, he laid Hfe down, 
his heathen soul in the fen-refuge; there hell received him! 

After the destruction of Grendel the monster's mother invaded the 
hall and carried off one of the Danish nobles. But Beowulf, nothing 
daunted, pursued her beneath the waves and killed her. Richly 
rewarded by Hrothgar, Beowulf now returned to his native land. He 
became king of the Geatas and ruled prosperously for fifty years. At 
the end of this period his country was ravaged by a fiery dragon. The 
aged king, with the help of a single follower, slew the dragon, but 
received his own death-wound. 

The wound which the dragon had inflicted on him began 
to burn and swell; quickly he found out that deadly venom 
seethed within his breast. But the chieftain went on until 
he sat, still clear in mind, on a seat by the rampart, and gazed 
on the work of giants — how the primeval earth dwelling con- 
tained within it rocky arches, firm on columns. Then the 
thane, his follower, bathed the bloody wounds of the famous 
prince and undid his helmet. 

Beowulf, despite his grievous wound, broke forth in speech. 
He knew full well that he had spent his measured while of 
earthly joy, then was his count of days all passed away, and 
death incalculably near: ''Now should I have wished to give 
my son my armor, if it had been so ordained that any heir, 
belonging to my body, should come after me. I have ruled 
over this people fifty winters; there was not one of the neigh- 
boring kings who dared encounter me with his allies in battle 
or could weigh me down with fear. In my own home I awaited 
what the times destined for me, kept well my own, did not 
pick treacherous quarrels, nor have I sworn unjustly many 
oaths. In all this may I, sick with deadly wounds, have solace; 
because the Ruler of men may never charge me with the murder 
of kinsfolk, when my life parts from my body. ... 

172 Three Medieval Epics 

"Bid ye war- veterans raise a conspicuous mound after the 
funeral fire, on a projection by the sea, which shall tower high 
as a memorial for my people, so that seafarers who urge their 
tall ships over the spray of ocean shall thereafter call it Beo- 
wulf's mound." 

The brave-souled prince then undid from his neck the golden 
collar, gave it to the thane, the young warrior, and his gold- 
mounted helmet, ring and corselet, and bade him use them well. 
''Thou art the last of our race," he said. "Fate has swept 
all my kinsfolk off, undaunted nobles, to their doom. I must 
go after them." That was the last thought of the old king's 
heart before the funeral fire was his lot, the hot destructive 
flames. His soul departed from his body to find the reward of 
righteous men." 

82. The Nibelungenlied 1 

The story on which the Nibelungenlied is based was widespread 
among Teutonic peoples. It is touched upon in Beowulf and is fully 
developed in the Prose Edda, one of the most important literary pro- 
ductions of the Northmen. In the German form of the legend the 
song of the Nibelungs becomes a story of the love and vengeance of 
the beautiful Kriemhild, daughter of a Burgundian king. 

There grew up in Burgundy a noble maiden, in no land was a 
fairer. Kriemhild was her name. Well favored was the dam- 
sel, and by reason of her died many warriors. Doughty knights 
in plenty wooed her, for she was exceeding comely, and her 
virtues were an adornment to all women. 

Now it so happened that Kriemhild, the pure maid, dreamed 
that she trained a wild falcon, and eagles wrested it from her; 
the which to see grieved her more than any ill that had befallen 
her heretofore. 

This dream she told to Uta, her mother, who interpreted it in 
this manner: "The falcon that thou sawest is a noble man; 
yet if God keep him not, he is a lost man to thee." 

"What speakest thou to me of men, mother mine? Without 

1 Nibelungenlied, vv. 13-19, 86-100, 291-305, 916-925, 972-1001. 

The Nibelungenlied 173 

their love would I still abide, that I may remain fair till my 
death, nor suffer harm from any man's love." 

Said her mother then, ''Be not so sure; for wouldst thou 
ever on this earth have heart's gladness, it cometh from the 
love of a man. And a fair wife wilt thou be, if God but lead 
hither to thee a true and trusty knight." 

"Say not so, mother mine," answered the maiden, "for to 
many a woman, and oft hath it been proven, the reward of 
love is sorrow. From both I will keep me, that evil betide not." 

Long in such wise abode the high, pure maiden, nor thought 
to love any. Nevertheless, at the last, she wedded a brave 
man; that was the falcon she dreamed of erstwhile, as her 
mother foretold it. Yea, bitter was her vengeance on her kins- 
men that slew him, and by reason of his death died many a 
mother's son. 

The famous Siegfried, attracted by the fame of Kriemhild's beauty, 
came to Worms, the Burgundian capital. Kriemhild's brothers ob- 
served the arrival of Siegfried and his knights, and from their retainer, 
Hagen, learned who the hero was. 

"From wheresoever they have come, they must be princes, or 
the envoys of princes. Their horses are good, and wondrously 
rich their vesture. . . . But for this I vouch, that, though I 
never saw Siegfried, yonder knight who goeth so proud is 
none but he. New adventures he bringeth hither. By this 
hero's hand fell the brave Nibelungs, Schilbung and Nibelung, 
the high princes. Wonders hath he wrought by his prowess. 
I have heard tell that, on a day when he rode alone, he came to 
a mountain and chanced on a company of brave men who 
guarded the Nibelung's hoard, whereof he knew naught. The 
Nibelung men had just brought it forth from a hole in the hill 
and, oddly enough, they were about to share it. Siegfried 
saw them and marveled thereat. He drew so close that they 
were aware of him, and he of them. Whereupon one said, 
'Here cometh Siegfried, the hero of the Netherland!' Schil- 
bung and Nibelung welcomed him, and with one accord the 


174 Three Medieval Epics 

princely youths asked him to divide the treasure between them, 
and begged this so eagerly that he could not say them nay. 

"The tale goeth that he saw there more precious stones than 
a hundred double wagons had sufficed to carry, and of the red 
Nibelung gold yet more. This must bold Siegfried divide. 
In reward therefor they gave him the sword of the Nibelungs, 
and were ill paid by Siegfried for the service. He strove vainly 
to end the task, whereat they were wroth. And when he could 
not bear it through, the kings, with their men, fell upon him. 
But with their father's sword, that was called Balmung, he 
wrested from them both hoard and land. The princes had 
twelve champions — stark giants, yet little it availed them. 
Siegfried slew them wrathfully with his hand, and, with Bal- 
mung, vanquished seven hundred knights; and many youths 
there, afraid of the man and his sword, did homage for castles 
and land. He smote the two kings dead. Then he himself 
came in peril by Alberich, that would have avenged the death 
of his masters then and there, till that he felt Siegfried's ex- 
ceeding might. When the dwarf could not overcome him, they 
ran like lions to the mountain, where Siegfried won from Alberich 
the cloud-cloak that was named Tarnkappe. Then was Sieg- 
fried, the terrible man, master of the hoard. They that had 
dared the combat lay slain; and he bade carry the treasure 
back whence the Nibelungs had brought it forth; and he made 
Alberich the keeper thereof, after that he had sworn an oath 
to serve him as his man and to do all that he commanded him." 

"These are his deeds," said Hagen, "bolder knight there 
never was. Yet more I might tell of him. With his hand he 
slew a dragon and bathed in its blood, so that his skin is like 
horn, and no weapon can cut him, as has been proven on him 

The meeting of Siegfried and Kriemhild is thus described. 

She greeted him mild and maidenly, and her color was kindled 
when she saw before her the high-minded man, and she said, 
"Welcome, Sir Siegfried, noble knight and good." His courage 

The Nibelungenlied 175 

rose at her words, and graceful, as befitted a knight, he bowed 
himself before her and thanked her. And love that is mighty 
constrained them, and they yearned with their eyes in secret. 
I know not whether, from his great love, the youth pressed her 
white hand, but two love-desirous hearts, I think, had else 
done amiss. 

Nevermore, in summer or in May, bore Siegfried in his 
heart such high joy, as when he went by the side of her whom 
he coveted for his dear one. And many a knight thought, 
would it had been my fortune to walk with her, as I have seen 
him do! Yet never, truly, hath warrior served better to win 
a queen. From what land soever the guests came, they were 
aware only of these two. And she was bidden kiss the hero. 
He had never had like joy before in this world. . . . 

Then they ordered to make way for fair Kriemhild. Valiant 
knights in stately array escorted her to the church, where she 
was parted from Siegfried. She went thither, followed by her 
maidens; and so rich was her apparel that the other women, 
for all their striving, were as naught beside her, for to gladden 
the eyes of heroes she was born. 

Scarce could Siegfried tarry till they had sung mass, he 
yearned so to thank her for his gladness, and that she whom 
he bore in his heart had inclined her desire toward him, even 
as his was to her, which was meet. 

Now when Kriemhild had come forth to the front of the 
church, they bade the warrior go to her again, and the damsel 
began to thank him, that before all others he had done 
valiantly. And she said, "Now, God requite thee, Sir Sieg- 
fried, for they tell me thou hast won praise and honor from all 

He looked on the maid right sweetly, and he said, "I will 
not cease to serve them. Never, while I live, will I lay head on 
pillow, till I have brought their desire to pass. For love of 
thee, dear lady, I will do this." And every day of twelve, in 
the sight of all the people, the youth walked by the side of the 
maiden as she went to the court. 

176 Three Medieval Epics 

Siegfried and Kriemhild were married, but fate did not permit them 
to enjoy many years of happiness together. Kriemhild quarreled with 
Brunhild, the wife of her brother Gunther, and Gunther's follower, 
the " grim " Hagen, determined to make away with Siegfried. Hav- 
ing learned from Kriemhild that Siegfried was vulnerable in one spot, 
Hagen arranged a great hunt in the forest, in order to slay the hero 
when off his guard. 

Gunther and Hagen, the fierce warriors, went hunting with 
false intent in the forest, to chase the boar, the bear, and the 
wild bull with their sharp spears. What fitter sport for brave 
men? Siegfried rode with them in kingly pomp. They took 
with them good store of meats. By a cool stream he lost his 
life, as Brunhild, King Gunther's wife, had devised it. 

But before he set out ... he went to Kriemhild, who was 
most sorrowful of heart. He kissed his lady on the mouth. 
" God grant I may see thee safe and well again, and thou me. 
Bide here merry among thy kinsfolk, for I must forth." 

Then she thought of the secret she had unwittingly revealed 
to Hagen, but durst not tell him. The queen wept sore that 
ever she was born, and made measureless sorrow. She said, 
"Go not hunting. Last night I dreamed an evil dream: how 
that two wild boars chased thee over the heath; and the 
flowers were red with blood. Have pity on my tears, for I fear 
some treachery. There are perhaps some people offended at 
us, who pursue us with deadly hate. Go not, dear lord; in 
good faith I counsel it." 

But he answered, "Dear love, I go but for a few days. I 
know not any that beareth me hate. Thy kinsmen wish me 
well, nor have I deserved otherwise at their hand." "Nay, 
Siegfried, I fear some mischance. Last night I dreamed an 
evil dream: how that two mountains fell on thee, and I saw 
thee no more. If thou goest, thou wilt grieve me bitterly." 
But he caught his dear one in his arms and kissed her close; then 
he took leave of her and rode off. She never saw him alive 

Then follows the powerful scene in which the murder of Siegfried is 

The Nibelungenlied 177 

Foully did Hagen break, faith with Siegfried. He said, when 
they were starting for the broad lime tree, "I hear from all 
sides that none can keep pace with Kriemhild's husband when 
he runneth. Let us see now." 

Bold Siegfried answered, ''Thou mayst easily prove it, if 
thou wilt run with me to the brook for a wager. The praise 
shall be to him that reacheth there first." "Let us see then," 
said Hagen the knight. And Siegfried answered, "If I lose, 
I will lay me at thy feet in the grass." A glad man was King 
Gunther when he heard that! 

Said Siegfried further, "Nay, I will undertake more. I will 
carry on me all that I wear — spear, shield, and hunting gear." 
Whereupon he girded on his sword and his quiver in haste. 
Then the others did off their clothes, till they stood in their 
white shirts, and they ran through the clover like two wild 
panthers; but bold Siegfried was seen there the first. Before 
all men he won the prize in everything. He loosed his sword 
straightway, and laid down his quiver. His good spear he 
leaned against the lime tree; then the noble guest stood and 
waited, for his courtesy was great. He laid down his shield 
by the stream. Albeit he was sore athirst, he drank not till 
the king had finished, who gave him evil thanks. 

The stream was cool, pure, and good. Gunther bent down 
to the water and rose again when he had drunk. Siegfried had 
gladly done the like, but he suffered for his courtesy. Hagen 
carried his bow and his sword out of his reach, and sprang back 
and gripped the spear. Then he spied for the secret mark on 
his vesture; and, while Siegfried drank from the stream, Hagen 
stabbed him where the mark was, so that his heart's blood 
spurted out on the traitor's clothes. Never since hath knight 
done so wickedly. He left the spear sticking deep in his heart, 
and fled in grimmer haste than ever he had done from any man 
on this earth afore. 

When Siegfried felt the deep wound, he sprang up maddened 
from the water, for the long boar spear stuck out from his heart. 
He thought to find bow or sword; if he had, Hagen had got his 

1 78 Three Medieval Epics 

due. But the sorely wounded man saw no sword, and had 
nothing save his shield. He picked it up from the water's 
edge and ran at Hagen. King Gunther's man could not escape 
him. For all that he was wounded to the death, he smote so 
mightily that the shield well-nigh brake, and the precious stones 
flew out. The noble guest had fain taken vengeance. 

Hagen fell beneath his stroke. The meadow rang loud with 
the noise of the blow. If Siegfried had had his sword to hand, 
Hagen would have been a dead man. But the anguish of his 
wound constrained him. His color was wan ; he could not stand 
upright; and the strength of his body failed him, for he bare 
death's mark on his white cheek. Fair women enough made 
dole for him. 

Then Kriemhild's husband fell among the flowers. The 
blood flowed fast from his wound, and in his great anguish he 
began to upbraid those who had falsely contrived his death. 
''False cowards!" cried the dying knight. "What availeth 
all my service to you, since ye have slain me? I was true to 
you, and pay the price for it. Ye have done ill by your friends. 
Cursed by this deed are your sons yet unborn. Ye have avenged 
your spite on my body all too bitterly. For your crime ye 
shall be shunned by good knights." 

All the warriors ran where he lay stabbed. To many among 
them it was a woeful day. They that were true mourned for 
him, for the hero that well deserved the praise of all men. The 
king of Burgundy, also, wept for his death, but the dying 
man said, "He needeth not to weep for the evil, by whom 
the evil cometh. Better had he left it undone, for great is 
his blame." 

Then said grim Hagen, " I know not what ye rue. All is ended 
for us — care and trouble. Few are they now that will with- 
stand us. Glad am I that, through me, his might is fallen." 
"Lightly may St thou boast now," said Siegfried; "if I had 
known thy murderous hate, it had been an easy thing to guard 
my body from thee. My bitterest dole is for Kriemhild, my 
wife. God pity me that ever I had a son. For all men will 

The Nibelungenlied 179 

reproach him that he hath murderers for his kinsmen. I would 
grieve for that, had I the time." 

He said to the king, ''Never in this world was so foul a murder 
as thou hast done on me. In thy sore need I saved thy life and 
thine honor. Dear have I paid for that 'I did well by thee." 
With a groan the wounded man said further, "Yet if thou canst 
show truth to any on this earth, O king, show it to my dear 
wife, whom I commend to thee. Let it advantage her to be 
thy sister. By all princely honor stand by her. Long must 
my father and my knights wait for my coming. Never hath 
woman won such woe through a dear one." He writhed in his 
bitter anguish, and spake painfully, "Ye shall rue this foul deed 
in the days to come. Know this of a truth, that in slaying me 
ye have slain yourselves." 

The flowers were all wet with blood. He strove with death, 
but not for long, for the weapon of death cut too deep. And 
the bold knight and good spake no more. 

When the warriors saw that the hero was dead, they laid 
him on a shield of ruddy gold and took counsel how they should 
conceal that Hagen had done it. Many of them said, "Evil 
hath befallen us. Ye shall all hide it, and hold to one tale 
— when Kriemhild's husband was riding alone in the forest 
robbers slew him." 

But Hagen said, "I will take him back to Burgundy. If 
she that hath troubled Brunhild know it, I care not. It con- 
cerneth me little if she weep." 

The Nibelungenlied does not end with Siegfried's death. In later 
chapters we are told how Kriemhild, now become the wife of Etzel 
(Attila), king of the Huns, invited Gunther, Hagen, and their Bur- 
gundian followers to visit her in Hunland, and then took bloody ven- 
geance on them for the murder of Siegfried. The poem concludes in 
a riot of bloodshed, for Kriemhild, after killing Hagen with Siegfried's 
sword, herself was slain. 



An important source for the life of Desiderius Erasmus, 
the famous Dutch humanist (1446-1536), is a biographical 
sketch by his friend, Beatus Rhenanus. It forms a part 
of the dedication by Beatus to the emperor Charles V 
of the collected edition of Erasmus's writings, which was 
published at Basel in 1540. Selections from this sketch, 
together with extracts from the Epistles of Erasmus, are 
reproduced below. Erasmus had a very extensive cor- 
respondence. "I receive daily," he once wrote, ''letters 
from remote parts, from kings, princes, prelates, men 
of learning, and even from persons of whose existence 
I was ignorant." The three thousand letters which have 
been preserved throw much light on the history of the 
Renaissance period. 

83. The Life of Erasmus 2 

Erasmus was born in the early years of the reign of your 
great-grandfather Frederick III, at Rotterdam in Holland. . . . 
As his birthplace the town of Rotterdam will always be entitled 
to the reverence of the learned. The next praise is claimed by 
Deventer, where he had his education, having been before a 
choir boy in Utrecht cathedral, where after the custom of 
such churches he had been employed for the sake of his small, 
high-pitched voice. . . . The ability of Erasmus was soon shown 

1 The Epistles of Erasmus, translated and edited by F. M. Nichols. London, 
1901-1Q04. 2 vols. Longmans, Green and Co. 
^ Nichols, Epistles, vol. i, pp. 25-37. 

The Life of Erasmus * i8i, 

by the quickness with which he understood, and the fidehty 
with which he retained, whatever he was taught, surpassing 
all the other boys of his age. Among the brothers, as they 
were called, who are not monks but like them in their mode of 
living and their simple and uniform dress, was John Sintheim, 
a man of good learning for that time. . . . Sintheim was so de- 
lighted with the progress of Erasmus, that on one occasion he 
embraced the boy, exclaiming, "Well done, Erasmus, the 
day will come when thou wilt reach the highest summit of erudi- 
tion"; and having said this, dismissed him with a kiss. Every 
one will admit that his prophecy came true. 

Erasmus soon after lost both his parents; and by the per- 
sistence of his guardian, who wished to shake off the burden of 
his charge, he was thrust from the school of Deventer into a 
monastery near Delft. In that place he had for several years 
as a partner in study, William Herman of Gouda, a youth de- 
voted to literature. Assisted and encouraged by this companion- 
ship, there was no volume of the Latin authors that Erasmus 
did not peruse. By day and by night the two youths were 
employed in study; and the time that others of their age spent 
idly in jesting, sleeping, and feasting, these two devoted to 
poring over books and practicing their pen. The bishop of 
Cambrai, Henry of Bergen, having heard of his fame, invited 
Erasmus, after he had been ordained, to join him, when he was 
himself preparing to visit Rome. He saw in Erasmus a person 
endowed with cultivated manners and of great ability in learn- 
ing and eloquence. It was evident that such a companion would 
be creditable as well as useful, in case of any intercourse or 
correspondence with the pope or cardinals. Some circum- 
stance, however, which I cannot explain, prevented the bishop 
from undertaking this journey. . . . Although the bishop changed 
his mind about going to Italy, he still kept Erasmus in his 
court, being delighted with the charm and distinction of his 
character. . . . 

After a time the bishop, taking into consideration the happy 
genius of Erasmus, furnished him with the means of going to 

.i82 * A Scholar of the Renaissance 

Paris and applying himself to scholastic theology. . . . When 
he found the college life too hard, he was glad to remove to 
the house of an English gentleman. ... It was then that Eras- 
mus became known in England, to which island he shortly 
afterwards went, being invited by his pupils who had returned 
home. He returned to England afterwards more than once 
and taught for some time in the university of Cambridge; as he 
did also at Lou vain. 

At last by the persuasion of friends, having always had a 
strong desire to see Italy, he went to Bologna. ... In Erasmus's 
journey he was made a doctor of theology at Turin, together 
with his English traveling companion. Thus he carried with 
him into Italy the dignity as well as the erudition which others 
are wont to bring back from that country. At Bologna he finished 
the volume of /I ^a^e^ which had been begun some years before. . . . 

When this work was completed, he wrote to Aldus Manutius ^ 
to ask him whether he would undertake the printing of it, 
to which he willingly consented. Erasmus then removed to 
Venice. . . . His stay at Venice lasted a considerable time, since 
he revised and republished there two tragedies of Euripides, 
Hecuba and Iphigenia in Aidis, and corrected the comedies of 
the Roman dramatists, Terence and Plautus, with special regard 
to the meters. ... 

After leaving Italy he visited his friends at Antwerp and 
Louvain and presently crossed to England, to which he was 
attracted by his love of Colet the theologian, who was dean of 
St. Paul's in London, and of Grocin, Latimer, and Linacre, 
and especially of Thomas More. His patron was William 
Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, 
and chancellor of the kingdom, that is, supreme judge, who 
surpassed all the bishops of that island in liberality. He gave 
Erasmus money, and also presented him to the living of Ald- 
ington in Kent. This he had some scruple at first in accepting, 
considering that the entire emoluments rather belonged to the 
pastor, whose business it undeniably was to be present night 

1 The famous Venetian printer, and publisher of the "Aldine Classics." 

The Life of Erasmus 183 

and day to instruct the people placed under his charge; but the 
archbishop met his hesitation with the following question: 
''Who," said he, "has a fairer claim to live out of a church in- 
come than yourself, the one person who by your valuable writ- 
ings instruct and educate the pastors themselves, and not them 
alone but all the churches of the world, which they severally 
direct and serve?" Certainly, I have more than once heard 
Erasmus say that princes ought to assist scholars by their 
own liberality, whereas in order to spare their purses they were 
accustomed to present them to benefices, which the followers 
of learning were compelled to accept, if they wished to secure 
leisure for their studies. . . . 

The students of France and Germany required a separate 
edition of the New Testament in Greek. Erasmus had for- 
merly written some notes upon it, and having found them 
among his papers he revised and extended them in great haste 
amid the bustle of the press. There were some who thought 
the Latin version itself required correction, being a work written 
or rather translated, as may be. presumed, for the general body 
of Christians ; and with this demand he showed his usual readi- 
ness to comply. The whole book he dedicated to Pope Leo X, 
and with good reason, the principal document of our religion 
being inscribed to its presiding chief. The revised works of 
St. Jerome, which he helped to prepare, were dedicated to 
Archbishop Warham, as an everlasting memorial of extraor- 
dinary respect. . . . 

Erasmus afterwards came back to Basel with the intention 
of reediting the Adages and finishing the Paraphrases of St. 
Paul and the Gospels. It is doubtful whether the applause 
with which these works were received by the world of readers 
was greater than the pleasure which he took in writing them. 
''Here," said he, "I am on my own ground." And so he was. 
His chief study was of the old interpreters: among the Latins, 
Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Hilary; among the Greeks, 
Chrysostom and his imitator Theophylact. Only the style 
was his own. . . . 

184 A Scholar of the Renaissance 

In stature Erasmus was . . . not a tall man. His figure was 
compact and elegant. He had a constitution extremely deli- 
cate, and easily affected by trifling changes, as of wine or food 
or climate. As he advanced in years he became subject to fre- 
quent attacks of catarrh, which is so common and constant 
a complaint with studious people. His complexion was fair, 
with hair that in his younger days had a touch of red, bluish 
grey eyes, and a lively expression of face; his voice was not 
strong, his language beautifuUy explicit, his dress respectable 
and sober, as became an imperial councilor and a clergyman. 
He was most constant in his attachments, no inscription on his 
list of friends being ever on any account changed. His memory 
was most retentive. He had learned as a boy the whole of 
Terence and Horace by heart. He was liberal to the poor, 
among whom, as he came home from mass, as well as on other 
occasions, he used to distribute money by his servant. He 
was especially generous and kind to any young and promising 
students who came to him in want of help. 

84. To Christian ^ 

In 1496, when teaching in Paris, Erasmus wrote as follows to one of 
his pupils, a young merchant of Liibeck named Christian. The letter 
furnishes an interesting account of a student's daily life. 

• Avoid nocturnal lucubrations and studies at unseasonable 
times. They exhaust the mind and seriously affect the health. 
The dawn, beloved of the Muses, is the fit time for study. 
After dinner either play, or walk, or take part in cheerful 
conversation. Possibly even among these amusements some 
room may be found for improvement. Eat as much food as is 
required, not for your pleasure, but for your health. Before 
supper take a short walk, and after supper do the same. Be- 
fore going to bed read something exquisite and worth remember- 
ing, of which you will be thinking when overcome by sleep, and 
for which you will ask yourself again when you wake. Let this 

1 Nichols, Epistles, vol. i, p. no. 

Some Letters of Erasmus 185 

maxim of Pliny ^ rest always in your mind: All your time is lost 
which you do not impart to study. Remember that nothing 
is more fugitive than youth, which, when once it has flown away, 
never returns. But I am beginning to preach, after promising 
to be nothing but a guide. Follow, sweetest Christian, the 
plan I have traced, or any better that you can. 

85. To Pope Leo X 2 

The following extract from a letter written in 1 516 to the pope refers 
to the New Testament which Erasmus had edited and published. 

The New Testament in Greek and Latin, revised by us, 
together with our annotations, has been pubhshed for some 
time, under the safeguard of your auspicious name. I do not 
know whether the work pleases every one, but I find that up 
to this time it has certainly been approved by the most ap- 
proved and principal theologians, and among the first by that 
incomparable prelate, Christopher, Bishop of Basel, who wit- 
nessed its printing. By this labor we do not intend to tear up 
the old and commonly accepted edition, but to amend it in some 
places where it is corrupt, and to make it clear where it is ob- 
scure; and this not by the dreams of my own mind, nor, as they 
say, with unwashed hands, but partly by the evidence of the 
earliest manuscripts, and partly by the opinion of those whose 
learning and sanctity have been confirmed by the authority 
of the Church — I mean Jerome, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, 
Chrysostom, and Cyril. Meantime we are always prepared 
either to give our reasons, without presumption, for anything 
which we have rightly taught, or to correct, without grudging, 
any passage where as men we have unwittingly fallen into 
error. We sent one volume to Rome last winter, still fresh 
and warm from the press, which I suppose was delivered to 
your Holiness; and I would send the other now, if I did not 
know that there is no place in the world where the work is not 

1 Pliny the Elder (23-79 a.d.), a great Roman scholar. 

2 Nichols, Epistles, vol. ii, p. 316. 

1 86 A Scholar of the Renaissance 

by this time within reach of everybody. AUhough the greatest 
pains have been bestowed upon it . . . yet I shall never be 
tired out, and will never rest until I have made it so complete 
and so correct that it may appear not altogether unworthy of 
the great pontiff and great personage to whom it is dedicated. 

86. To Capitol 

A letter which Erasmus wrote in 151 7 to a clerical friend at Basel 
contains a suggestive account of the condition of Europe on the eve of 
the Protestant Reformation. 

It is no part of my nature to be excessively fond of life; 
whether it is that I have, to my own mind, lived nearly long 
enough, having entered my fifty-first year, or that I see noth- 
ing in this life so splendid or delightful that it should be desired 
by one who is convinced by the Christian faith that a happier 
life awaits those who in this world earnestly attach themselves 
to piety. But at the present moment I could almost wish 
to be young again, for no other reason but this, that I antici- 
pate the near approach of a golden age; so clearly do we see 
the minds of princes, as if changed by inspiration, devoting all 
their energies to the pursuit of peace. The chief movers in 
this matter are Pope Leo X and Francis I, king of France. . . . 

There is nothing this king does not do or does not suffer, in 
his desire to avert war and consolidate peace; submitting, of 
his own accord, to conditions which might be deemed unfair, 
if he preferred to have regard to his own greatness and dignity 
rather than to the general advantage of the world; and exhibit- 
ing in this, as in everything else, a magnanimous and truly 
royal character. Therefore, when I see that the highest sover- 
eigns of Europe, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain, 
Henry VIII of England, and the emperor Maximilian I, have 
set all their warlike preparations aside, and established peace 
upon soHd, and, as I trust, adamantine foundations, I am led 
to a confident hope that not only moraUty and Christian piety, 

1 Nichols, Epistles, vol. ii, pp. 505-508. 

Some Letters of Erasmus 187 

but also a genuine and purer literature may come to renewed 
life or greater splendor; especially as this object is pursued 
with equal zeal in various regions of the world. ... To the 
piety of these princes it is due that we see everywhere, as if 
upon a given signal, men of genius arising and conspiring 
together to restore the best literature. 

Polite letters, which were almost extinct, are now cultivated 
and embraced by Scots, by Danes, and by Irishmen. Medi- 
cine and the imperial law have a host of champions. ... In the 
theological sphere there was no little to be done, because this 
science has been hitherto mainly professed by those who are 
most pertinacious in their abhorrence of the better literature. 
They are the more successful in defending their ignorance as 
they do it under pretext of piety, the unlearned vulgar being 
induced to believe that violence is offered to religion, if any 
one begins an assault upon their barbarism. ... 

The humblest part of the work has naturally fallen to my 
lot. Whether my contribution has been worth anything, I 
cannot say; at any rate those who object to the world regain- 
ing its senses are as angry with me, as if my small industry had 
had some influence. The work was not undertaken by me 
with any confidence that I could myself teach anything mag- 
nificent, but I wanted to construct a road for other persons 
of higher aims, so that they might be less impeded by pools 
and stumbUng blocks in carrying home those fair and glori- 
ous treasures. 



An Italian painter and architect, Georgio Vasari 
(about 1511-1571), enjoyed a high reputation in his day, 
but his fame now rests mainly on his history of ItaUan 
art. This work, first published in 1550, consists of a 
series of biographies of the great masters from Giotto 
to Titian. Many of Vasari's Lives are those of his own 
contemporaries and friends. The author writes in a 
very attractive style and with judgment acute and 
unbiassed. His book, despite some inaccuracies, forms 
our chief source of information concerning the artists 
of the Renaissance. Three of these are of supreme im- 
portance, namely, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), 
Michelangelo Buonarroti (147 5-1 564), and Raffaello 
Sanzio (1483-15 20). 

87. Leonardo da Vinci 2 

Truly marvelous and celestial was Leonardo, the son of 
Pietro da Vinci. In learning and in the rudiments of letters 
he would have become highly proficient, if he had not been so 
variable and unstable, for he set himself to learn many things, 
and then, after having begun them, abandoned them. Thus, 
in arithmetic, during the few months that he studied it, he made 
so much progress, that, by continually suggesting doubts and 

1 Vasari's Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, trans- 
lated by Gaston Du C. De Vere. lo vols. London, 1912-1916. Philip Lee 

2 Vasari, Delle vile de piu eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, vol. iv, pp. 

Leonardo da Vinci 189 

difficulties to the master who was teaching him, he would very 
often bewilder him. He gave some httle attention to music, 
and quickly resolved to learn to play the lyre, as one who had 
by nature a spirit most lofty and full of refinement; wherefore 
he sang divinely to that instrument, improvising upon it. 
Nevertheless, although he occupied himself with such a variety 
of things, he never ceased drawing and working in relief, pur- 
suits which suited his fancy more than any other. Pietro, hav- 
ing observed this, and having considered the loftiness of his 
intellect, one day took some of his drawings and carried them 
to Andrea del Verrocchio, who was his friend, and besought 
him to tell him whether Leonardo, by devoting himself to 
drawing, would acquire any skill. Andrea was astonished to 
see the extraordinary drawing by Leonardo, and urged Pietro 
to let him study art; wherefore he arranged with Leonardo 
that he should enter the workshop of Andrea, which Leonardo 
did with the greatest willingness in the world. 

Leonardo practiced not one branch of art only, but all those 
in which drawing played a part. . . . He not only worked in 
sculpture, making in his youth, in clay, some heads of women 
that are smiHng, of which plaster casts are still taken, and Hke- 
wise some masterly heads of boys, but in architecture, also, 
he made many drawings, both of ground-plans and of other 
designs of buildings. He was the first, although but a youth, 
who suggested the plan of reducing the river Arno to a navi- 
gable canal from Pisa to Florence. He made designs of flour 
mills, fuUing-mills, and engines, which might be driven by the 
force of water; and since he wished that his profession should 
be painting, he studied much in drawing after nature. ... He 
was continually making models and designs to show men how 
to remove mountains with ease, and how to bore them in order 
to pass from one level to another; and by means of levers, 
windlasses, and screws he showed the way to raise and draw 
great weights, together with methods for emptying harbors, 
and pumps for removing water from low places, things which his 
brain never ceased from devising. . . , 

190 Renaissance Artists 

It is clear that Leonardo, through his comprehension of art, 
began many things and never finished one of them, since it 
seemed to him that the hand was not able to attain to the 
perfection of art in carrying out the things which he imagined. 
. . . And so many were his caprices, that, philosophizing of 
natural things, he set himself to seek out the properties of herbs, 
going on even to observe the motions of the heavens, the path 
of the moon, and the courses of the sun. . . . 

Leonardo painted in Milan, for the friars of St. Dominic, at 
the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Last Supper, a most 
beautiful and marvelous thing. To the heads of the apostles 
he gave such majesty and beauty that he left the head of Christ 
uncompleted, believing that he was unable to give it that divine 
air which is essential to the image of Christ. This work, re- 
maining thus all but finished, has ever been held by the Milan- 
ese in the greatest veneration, and also by strangers as well; 
for Leonardo imagined and succeeded in expressing that anxiety 
which had seized the apostles in wishing to know who should 
betray their Master. For which reason in all their faces are 
seen love, fear, and wrath, or rather, sorrow, at not being able 
to understand the meaning of Christ; which thing excites no 
less marvel than the sight, in contrast to it, of obstinacy, 
hatred, and treachery in Judas. Every least part of Leo- 
nardo's picture displays an incredible diligence, seeing that 
even in the table-cloth the texture of the stuff is counter- 
feited in such a manner that linen itself could not seem more 
real. . . . 

Leonardo undertook to execute, for Francesco del Giocondo, 
the portrait of Monna Lisa, his wife; and after toiling over it 
for four years, he left it unfinished. The work is now in the 
collection of King Francis I of France, at Fontainebleau.^ In 
the head of Monna Lisa, whoever wished to see how closely art 
could imitate nature, was able to comprehend it with ease. . . . 
The eyes, one notes, had that luster and watery sheen which are 
always seen in life, and around them were all those rosy and 

1 This famous picture is now one of the treasures of the Louvre in Paris. 

Michelangelo Buonarroti 191 

pearly tints, as well as the lashes, which cannot be represented 
without the greatest subtlety. The eyebrows, through his hav- 
ing shown the manner in which the hairs spring from the flesh, 
here more close and here more scanty . . . could not be more 
natural. The nose, with its beautiful nostrils, rosy and tender, 
appeared to be alive. The mouth, with its opening, and with 
its ends united by the red of the lips to the flesh tints of the face, 
seemed to be not colors but flesh. In the pit of the throat, if one 
gazed upon it intently, could be seen the beating of the pulse. 
And, indeed, it may be said that the portrait was painted in 
such a manner as to make any other craftsman, be he who he 
may, tremble and lose heart. Leonardo made use, also, of 
this device: Monna Lisa being very beautiful, he always em- 
ployed, while he was painting her portrait, persons to play or 
sing, and jesters, who might make her merry, in order to take 
away that melancholy which painters are often wont to give 
to the portraits that they paint. And in this work of 
Leonardo's there was a smile so pleasing, that it was a thing 
more divine than human to behold; and it was held to be some- 
thing marvelous, since the reality was not more alive. . . . 

88. Michelangelo Buonarroti ^ 

Michelangelo was much inclined to the labors of art, seeing 
that everything, however difficult, succeeded with him, he hav- 
ing had from nature a genius very apt and ardent in the noble 
arts of design. Moreover, in order to be entirely perfect, 
innumerable times he made anatomical studies, dissecting 
men's bodies in order to see the principles of their construction 
and the arrangement of the bones, muscles, veins, and nerves; 
the various movements and all the postures of the human body; 
and not of men only, but also of animals, and particularly of 
horses, which last he much dehghted to keep. Of all these he 
desired to learn the principles and laws in so far as touched 

1 Vasari, Delle vite de piu eccellenti pittori, scuUori, ed architettori, vol. ix, pp. 

192 Renaissance Artists 

his art, and this knowledge he so demonstrated in the works 
that fell to him to handle that those who attend to no other 
study than this do not know more. He so executed his works, 
whether with the brush or with the chisel, that they are almost 
inimitable, and he gave to his labors such grace and loveliness 
that he surpassed and vanquished the ancients. He was 
able to wrest things out of the greatest difficulties with such 
facihty that they do not appear wrought with effort, although 
whoever draws his works after him finds it very hard to 
imitate them. 

The genius of Michelangelo was recognized in his lifetime, 
and not, as happens to many, after death, for several of the 
popes always wished to have him near them, and also Suleiman, 
emperor of the Turks, Francis of Valois, king of France, the 
emperor Charles V, the signory of Venice, and finally Duke 
Cosimo de' Medici. All offered him honorable salaries, for no 
other reason but to avail themselves of his great genius. This 
does not happen except to men of great worth, such as he was. 
It is well known that all the three arts of painting, sculp- 
ture, and architecture were so perfected in him, that it is not 
found that among persons ancient or modern, in all the many 
years that the sun had been whirling round, God has granted 
this to any other but Michelangelo. He had imagination of 
such a kind, and so perfect, and the things conceived by him 
in idea were such, that often, through not being able to express 
with the hands conceptions so terrible and grand, he abandoned 
his works — nay, destroyed many of them. I know that 
shortly before he died he burned a great number of designs, 
sketches, and cartoons made with his own hand, to the end that 
no one might see the labors endured by him and his meth- 
ods of trying his genius, and that he might not appear less 
perfect. . . . 

No one should think it strange that Michelangelo delighted 
in solitude, he having been one who was enamored of his art, 
which claims a man, with all his thoughts, for herself alone; 
moreover it is necessary that he who wishes to attend to her 

Michelangelo Buonarroti 193 

studies should shun society. . . . And those who attributed it 
to caprice and eccentricity are wrong, because he who wishes 
to work well must withdraw himself from all cares and vexa- 
tions, since art demands contemplation, solitude, and ease of 
life, and will not suffer the mind to wander. For all this, he 
prized the friendship of many great persons and of learned and 
ingenious men. . . . 

Michelangelo greatly loved human beauty for the sake of 
imitation in art, being able to select from the beautiful the 
most beautiful, for without this imitation no perfect work can 
be done; but not with disgraceful thoughts, as he proved by 
his way of life, which was very frugal. . . . And, although he 
was rich, he lived like a poor man, nor did any friend ever eat 
at his table, or rarely; and he would not accept presents from 
anyone, because it appeared to him that if anyone gave him 
something, he would be bound to him forever. This sober life 
kept him very active and in need of very httle sleep, and often 
during the night, not being able to sleep, he would rise to labor 
with the chisel. . . . Often in his youth he slept in his clothes, 
being weary with labor, and not caring to take them off only 
to have to put them on again later. . . . 

Michelangelo was a man of tenacious and profound memory, 
so that, on seeing the works of others only once, he remembered 
them perfectly, and could avail himself of them in such a manner, 
that scarcely anyone has ever noticed it; nor did he ever do 
anything that resembled another thing by his hand, because 
he remembered everything that he had done. In his youth, 
being once with his painter-friends, they played for a supper 
for him who should make a figure most completely wanting in 
design and clumsy, after the likeness of the puppet-figures 
scrawled upon walls; and in this he availed himself of his 
memory, for he remembered having seen one of those absurdi- 
ties on a wall, and drew it exactly as if he had had it before him, 
and thus surpassed all those painters. It was a thing difficult 
for a man so steeped in design, and accustomed to choice work, 
to come out of with credit. 

194 Renaissance Artists 

89. Raffaello Sanzio i 

How bountiful and benign Heaven sometimes shows itself 
in showering upon a single person the infinite riches of its 
treasures, and all those graces and rarest gifts that it is wont 
to distribute among many individuals, over a long space of 
time, could be clearly seen in the no less excellent than gracious 
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. . . . Nature presented him to the 
world, when, vanquished by art through the hands of Michel- 
angelo Buonarroti, she wished to be vanquished, in Raffaello, 
by art and character together. . . . 

Raffaello painted on a wall the coming of Attila to Rome 
and his encounter at the foot of Monte Mario with Leo the 
Great, who drove him away with his mere benediction. In 
this scene Raffaello made St. Peter and St. Paul in the air, 
with swords in their hands, to defend the Church. While the 
story of Leo the Great says nothing of this, nevertheless it was 
thus that he chose to represent it, perchance out of fancy, for 
it often happens that painters, like poets, go straying from their 
subject in order to make their work the more ornate, although 
their digressions are not such as to be out of harmony with their 
first intention. In the faces of the two apostles may be seen 
that celestial wrath and ardor which the Divine Justice is wont 
often to impart to the features of its ministers, charged with 
defending the most holy Faith. ... 

In Rome he made a picture of good size, in which he portrayed 
Pope Leo X, Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, and Cardinal de' 
Rossi. In this the figures appear to be not painted, but in 
full relief; there is the pile of the velvet, with the damask of 
the pope's vestments shining and rustling, the fur of the linings 
soft and natural, and the gold and silk so counterfeited that they 
do not seem to be in color, but real gold and silk. There is 
an illuminated book of parchment, which appears more real 
than the reality; and a little bell of wrought silver, which is 

1 Vasari, Delle vile de piu eccellenti pittori, scuUori, ed archiietlori, vol. iv, pp. 

Raffaello Sanzio 195 

more beautiful than words can tell. Among other things, 
also, is a ball of burnished gold on the pope's chair, wherein are 
reflected, as if it were a mirror, the light from the windows, 
the shoulders of the pope, and the walls round the room. All 
these things are executed with such diligence that one may 
well believe that no master is able, or is ever likely to be able, 
to do better. For this work the pope was pleased to reward 
him very richly; and the picture is still to be seen in Flor- 
ence. . . . 

For Giulio de' Medici, Cardinal and Vice-Chancellor, he 
painted a panel picture, to be sent into France, of the Trans- 
figuration of Christ. ... In this picture he represented Christ 
Transfigured on Mount Tabor, at the foot of which are the 
eleven disciples awaiting Him. . . . He made therein figures 
and heads so fine in their novelty and variety, to say nothing 
of their extraordinary beauty, that it is the common opinion 
of all craftsmen that this work, among the vast number that 
he painted, is the most glorious, the most lovely, and the most 
divine. Whoever wishes to know how Christ Transfigured 
should be represented in painting, must look at this work, 
wherein Raffaello made Him in perspective over Mount Tabor, 
in a sky of exceeding brightness, with Moses and Elias, who, 
illumined by a dazzling splendor, burst into life in His fight. 
Prostrate on the ground, in attitudes of great beauty and 
variety, are Peter, James, and John; one has his head to the 
earth, and another, shading his eyes with his hands, is defend- 
ing himself from the rays and intense light of the splendor of 
Christ. He, clothed in snow-white raiment, with His arm 
outstretched and His head raised, appears to reveal the Divine 
essence and nature of all the Three Persons united and con- 
centrated in Himself. This picture exhibits the perfect art of 
Raffaello, who seems to have summoned up all this power to 
show the supreme force of his art in the countenance of Christ. 
After finishing it, the last work that he was to do, he never again 
touched a brush, being overtaken by death. . . . 



Marco Polo was the most famous of medieval travelers. 
He spent nearly twenty years in the Far East and brought 
back to Europe much entertaining knowledge about lands 
and peoples previously almost unknown. About 1260 
his father, Nicolo, and his uncle, Maffeo, set out from 
Constantinople on a trading venture, which led them, 
ultimately, to the court of the Mongol ruler, Kublai 
Khan. Kublai received the Venetians graciously and 
intrusted them with a message to the pope, requesting 
one hundred wise men of the West to teach the Mongols 
Christianity and the arts of civilization. The two brothers 
returned to Venice in 1269, but found no pope to comply 
with the Great Khan's wishes. Tired of waiting for a 
new pope to be chosen, the Polos started out in 1271 
on a second journey to the East. They took with them 
this time Nicolo's son, Marco, then a lad of seventeen. 
It had been their intention, after reaching Ormuz at 
the mouth of the Persian Gulf, to follow the sea route 
to China. But this plan was abandoned, and the Polos 
struck northward from Ormuz through Persia to the upper 
Oxus and the plateau of Pamir. These wild and inac- 
cessible regions of central Asia were not again explored 
by European travelers till the nineteenth century. Cross- 
ing the desert of Gobi, the Polos at last reached China 

1 The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the translation by Sir Henry Yule, revised by 
Henri Cordier. 2 vols. 3d edition. London, 1903. John Murray. 

The Three Magi 197 

and the court of the Great Khan at Cambaluc, or Peking. 
Kublai took the young Marco into his service and sent 
him on important missions to different parts of the Mon- 
gol realm. In this way Marco became familar with a 
large extent of the Far East. All the Polos amassed 
much wealth, in consequence of the khan's favor, but 
for a long time he was unwilling to let them return to 
Europe. It was not until 1292 that they started from 
Zaitun on the coast of China for the long journey home- 
ward. They reached Venice at the end of 1295 ^.nd 
displayed to the astonished eyes of their kinsmen the 
huge quantities of precious stones, rubies, sapphires, 
diamonds and emeralds, into which they had converted 
their wealth. The story of their remarkable adventures 
was written down, at Marco's dictation, by a certain 
Rusticano, who thus preserved it for all time. The 
original text was in French, but translations of it were 
made into the principal languages of western Europe. 

90. The Three Magi 1 

In Persia is the city of Saba, from which the Three Magi set 
out when they went to worship Jesus Christ; ^ and in this city 
they are buried, in three very large and beautiful monuments, 
side by side. . . . The bodies are still entire, with the hair and 
beard remaining. One of these was called Jaspar, the second 
Melchior, and the third Balthasar. Marco Polo asked a great 
many questions of the people of that city as to those three Magi, 
but never one could he find who knew aught of the matter, 
except that these were three kings who were buried there in 
days of old. However, at a place three days' journey distant 
he heard of what I am going to tell you. He found a village 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. i, chs. 13-14. 

2 The story of the visit of the three wise men from the East to Jerusalem, at 
the time of the birth of Jesus, is found only in St. Matthew's Gospel (ii, 1-3) . 

1 98 The Travels of Marco Polo 

there which goes by the name of Cala Ataperistan, which is as 
much as to say, "The Castle of Fire- worshipers." And the 
name is rightly applied, for the people there do worship fire, and 
I will tell you why. 

They relate that in old times three kings of that country 
went away to worship a Prophet that was born, and they 
carried with them three kinds of offerings, gold, frankincense, 
and myrrh, in order to ascertain whether that prophet was 
God, or an earthly king, or a physician. For, said they, if he 
takes the gold, then he is an earthly king; if he takes the 
incense, he is God; if he takes the myrrh, he is a physician. 

So it came to pass when they had come to the place where 
the Child was born, the youngest of the three kings went in 
first, and found the Child apparently just of his own age; so 
he went forth again, marveling greatly. The middle one en- 
tered next, and like the first he found the Child seemingly of 
his own age; so he also went forth again and marveled greatly. 
Lastly, the eldest went in and, as it had befallen the other two, 
so it befell him. And he went forth very pensive. And when 
the three had rejoined one another, each told what he had seen ; 
and then they all marveled the more. So they agreed to go in 
all three together, and on doing so they beheld the Child with 
the appearance of its actual age, to wit, some thirteen days. 
Then they adored, and presented their gold and incense and 
myrrh. And the Child took all the three offerings and then 
gave them a small closed box; whereupon the kings departed 
to return into their own land. 

And when they had ridden many days, they said they would 
see what the Child had given them. So they opened the little 
box and inside it they found a stone. . . . The gift of the stone 
implied that their faith in the Child as the True God, and the 
True King, and the True Physician should abide firm as a rock. 
But not understanding this meaning of the stone, they cast it 
into a well. Then straightway a fire from Heaven descended 
into that well wherein the stone had fallen. 

When the three kings beheld this marvel, they were sore 

The Old Man of the Mountain 199 

amazed and were greatly troubled that they should have cast 
away the stone. So they took the fire and carried it away 
into their own country, and placed it in a rich and beautiful 
church, where the people keep it continually burning and wor- 
ship it as a god, and all the sacrifices they offer are kindled 
with that fire. 

91. The Old Man of the Mountain 1 

Marco Polo tells a romantic story, in the form current throughout 
the East, of the " Old Man of the Mountain." This was the title 
applied by the crusaders to the head of a Mohammedan sect, which 
had settled in the Syrian mountains north of Lebanon. His followers 
were notorious for their secret murders committed in blind obedience 
to the will of their chief. From their name (Arabic Hashishin) has 
come the modern application of the word Assassin. 

The Old Man had caused a certain valley between two moun- 
tains to be inclosed and had turned it into a garden, the largest 
and most beautiful that ever was seen. It was filled with every 
variety of fruit. In it were erected paviHons and palaces the 
most elegant that can be imagined, all covered with gilding and 
exquisite painting. And there were conduits too, flowing freely 
with wine and milk and honey and water; and numbers of the 
most beautiful damsels in the world, who could play on all 
manner of instruments, and sang most sweetly, and danced 
in a manner that it was charming to behold. For the Old 
Man desired to make his people believe that this was actually 
paradise. So he had fashioned it after the description that 
Mohammed gave of his paradise, to wit, that it should be a 
beautiful garden running with conduits of wine and milk and 
honey and water, and full of lovely women for the delectation of 
all its inmates. And sure enough the Saracens of those parts 
believed that it was paradise I 

Now no man was allowed to enter the garden except those 
whom he intended to be his Assassins. There was a fortress 
at the entrance to the garden, strong enough to resist all the 
world, and there was no other way to get in. He kept at his 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. i, chs. 23-25, 

200 The Travels of Marco Polo 

court a number of the youths of the country, from twelve to 
twenty years of age, such as had a taste for soldiering, and to 
these he used to tell tales about paradise, just as Mohammed 
had been wont to do, and they beUeved in him just as the Sara- 
cens believe in Mohammed. Then he would introduce them 
into his garden, some four, or six, or ten at a time, having first 
made them drink a certain potion which cast them into a deep 
sleep, and then causing them to be Hfted and carried in. When 
therefore they awoke, and found themselves in a place so charm- 
ing, they deemed that it was paradise in very truth. . . . With 
their own good will they never would have quitted the place. 

Now this prince, whom we call the Old Man, kept his court 
in grand and noble style and made those simple hill-folks 
about him beUeve firmly that he was a great prophet. And 
when he wanted to send one of his Assassins on any mission, 
he would cause that potion whereof I spoke to be given to one 
of the youths in the garden, and then had him carried into his 
palace. So when the young man awoke, he found himself in 
the castle, and no longer in that paradise; whereat he was 
not well pleased. He was then conducted to the Old Man's 
presence and bowed before him with great veneration, believ- 
ing himself to be in the presence of a true prophet. The prince 
would then ask whence he came, and he would reply that he 
came from paradise, and that it was exactly such as Mohammed 
had described it. This of course gave the others who stood 
by, and who had not been admitted, the greatest desire to enter 

So when the Old Man would have any prince slain, he would 
say to such a youth, "Go thou and slay so-and-so; and when 
thou returnest my angels shall bear thee into paradise. And 
shouldst thou die, nevertheless even so will I send my angels 
to carry thee back into paradise." So he caused them to be- 
lieve; and thus there was no order of his that they would not 
face any peril to execute, because of the great desire they had 
to get back into that paradise of his. And in this manner the 
Old Man got his people to murder anyone whom he desired 

The Desert of Gobi 201 

to get rid of. . . . Now it came to pass in the year 1252, that 
Alaii, Lord of the Tartars of the Levant, heard tell of these 
great crimes of the Old Man and resolved to make an end of 
him. So he took and sent one of his barons with a great army 
to that castle, and they besieged it for three years, but they 
could not take it, so strong was the place. But after three 
years, the defenders, having run short of food, were obliged to 
surrender. The Old Man was put to death with all his men, 
and the castle with its garden of paradise was leveled with the 
ground. And since that time he has had no successor; and 
there was an end to all his villanies. 

92. The Desert of Gobi 1 

Lop is a large town at the edge of the desert, which is called 
the desert of Gobi, and is situated between east and northeast. 
It belongs to the Great Khan, and the inhabitants worship 
Mohammed. Now, such persons as intend to cross the desert 
take a week's rest in this town to refresh themselves and their 
cattle; and then they make ready for the journey, taking with 
them a month's supply for man and beast. On quitting this 
city they enter the desert. 

The length of this desert is so great that it is said it would 
take a year and more to ride from one end of it to the other. 
And here, where its breadth is least, it takes a month to cross 
it. The desert is entirely composed of hills and valleys of sand, 
and not a thing to eat is to be found on it. But after riding for 
a day and a night you find fresh water, perhaps enough for 
some fifty or one hundred persons with their beasts, but not 
for more. And all across the desert you will find water in like 
manner, that is to say, in some twenty-eight places altogether 
you will find good water, but not in great quantity. 

Beasts there are none; for there is nought for them to eat. 
But there is a mar\^elous thing related of this desert, which is 
that when travelers are on the move by night, and one of them 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. i, ch. sg. 

202 The Travels of Marco Polo 

chances to lag behind or to fall asleep or the like, when he tries 
to gain his company again he will hear spirits talking and will 
suppose them to be his comrades. Sometimes the spirits will 
call him by name; and thus a traveler ofttimes will be led 
astray so that he never finds his party. And in this way many 
have perished. . . . Even in the daytime one hears these spirits 
talking. And sometimes you may hear the sound of a variety 
of musical instruments, and still more commonly the sound 
of drums. Hence in making this journey it is customary for 
travelers to keep close together. All the animals, too, have 
bells at their necks, so that they cannot easily get astray. 
And at sleeping-time a signal is put up to show the direction 
of the next day's march. Thus it is that the desert is crossed. 

93. Customs of the Tartars ^ 

Marco Polo gives a very interesting account of the Tartars (properly 
Tatars), the barbaric and nomadic inhabitants of central Asia. It 
was these Tartars, more or less mixed with Mongols, who in the thir- 
teenth century conquered a large part of Asia and overran eastern 

The Tartar custom is to spend the winter in warm plains, 
where they find good pasture for their cattle, while in summer 
they betake themselves to a cool climate among the mountains 
and valleys, where water is to be found as well as woods and 

Their houses are circular, and are made of wands covered 
with felts. These are carried along with them whithersoever 
they go; for the wands are so strongly bound together, and like- 
wise so well combined, that the frame can be made very light. 
Whenever they erect these huts the door is always to the south. 
They also have wagons so tightly covered with black felt that 
no rain can get in. These are drawn by oxen and camels, and 
the women and children travel in them. The women do the 
buying and selling, and whatever is necessary to provide for 
the husband and household; for the men all lead the life of 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. i, chs. 52, 54. 

Customs of the Tartars 203 

gentlemen, troubling themselves about nothing but hunting 
and hawking, unless it be the practice of warlike exercises. 

They hve on the milk and meat which their herds supply, 
and on the produce of the chase; and they eat all kinds of flesh, 
including that of horses and dogs. . . . Their drink is mare's 
milk.^ . . . Ten or twenty of them will dwell together in charm- 
ing peace and unity, nor shall you ever hear an ill word among 

The marriage customs of Tartars are as follows. Any man 
may take a hundred wives if he pleases, and if he is able to keep 
them. But the first wife is ever held most in honor and as the 
most legitimate, and the same applies to the sons whom she 
may bear. The husband gives a marriage payment to his 
wife's mother, and the wife brings nothing to her husband. 
They have more children than other people, because they have 
so many wives. They may marry their cousins, and if a father 
dies, his son may take any of the wives, his own mother always 
excepted; that is to say, the eldest son may do this, but no 
other. A man may also take the wife of his own brother after 
the latter's death. Their weddings are celebrated with great 

All their military equipment is excellent and costly. Their 
arms are bows and arrows, sword and mace; but above all the 
bow, for they are capital archers, indeed the best that are 
known. On their backs they wear a strong armor prepared 
from buffalo and other hides. They are excellent soldiers and 
most valiant in battle. They are also more capable of hard- 
ships than other peoples; for many a time, if need be, they will 
go for a month without any supply of food, living only on the 
milk of their mares and on such game as their bows may win 
them. Their horses, also, will subsist entirely on the grass of 
the plains, so that there is no need to carry a store of barley 
or straw or oats; and they are very docile to their riders. 
A Tartar, in case of need, will abide on horseback the entire 

1 Fermented mare's milk, known as kumiss, is still the habitual drink of the 
nomads of central Asia. It is a remarkably nourishing liquor. 

204 The Travels of Marco Polo 

night, armed at all points, while his horse will be continually 

Of all troops in the world these are they which endure the 
greatest hardships and fatigue and which cost the least; and they 
are the best of all for making wide conquests of country. And 
this you will perceive from what you have heard and shall hear 
in this book; and (as a fact) there can be no manner of doubt 
that now they are the masters of the greater part of the world. 
Their troops are admirably ordered in the manner that I shall 
now relate. 

You see, when a Tartar prince goes forth to war, he takes 
with him, say, one hundred thousand horsemen. Well, he 
appoints an officer to every ten men, one to every hundred, 
one to every thousand, and one to every ten thousand, so that 
his own orders have to be given to ten persons only, and each 
of these ten persons has to pass the orders only to another 
ten, and so on; no one having to give orders to more than ten. 
And every one in turn is responsible only to the officer immedi- 
ately over him; and the discipline and order that comes of this 
method is marvelous, for they are a people very obedient to their 
chiefs. , . . 

When they are going on a distant expedition they take no 
equipment with them except two leather bottles for milk, a 
little earthenware pot to cook their meat in, and a little tent 
to shelter them from rain. And in case of great urgency they 
will ride ten days on end without lighting a fire or taking a 
meal. On such an occasion they will sustain themselves with 
the blood of their horses, opening a vein and letting the blood 
jet into their mouths, drinking till they have had enough, and 
then staunching the wound. 

They also have milk dried into a kind of paste to carry with 
them; and when they need food they put this in water and beat 
it up till it dissolves, and then drink it. . . . When they go on 
an expedition, every man takes some ten pounds of this dried 
milk with him. And of a morning he will take a half pound of 
it and put it in his leather bottle, with as much water as he 

Paper Money of the Great Khan 205 

pleases. So, as he rides along, the milk-paste and the water in 
the bottle get well churned together into a kind of pap, and that 
makes his dinner. 

When the Tartars come to an engagement with the enemy, 
they will gain the victory in this fashion. They never let 
themselves get into a regular medley, but keep perpetually 
riding round and shooting into the enemy. And as they do not 
count it any shame to run away in battle, they will sometimes 
pretend to do so, and in running away they turn in the saddle 
and shoot hard and strong at the foe and in this way make 
great havoc. Their horses are trained so perfectly that they 
will double hither and thither, like a dog, in a manner that is 
quite astonishing. Thus they fight to as good purpose in run- 
ning away as if they stood and faced the enemy, because of the 
vast volleys of arrows that they shoot in this way, turning 
round upon their pursuers, who are fancying that they have 
won the battle. But when the Tartars see that they have 
killed and wounded a good many horses and men, they wheel 
round bodily, and return to the charge in perfect order and with 
loud cries; and in a very short time the enemy are routed. In 
truth they are stout and valiant soldiers and inured to war. 
And you perceive that it is just when the enemy sees them run 
and imagines that he has gained the battle, that he has in reality 
lost it; for the Tartars wheel round in a moment when they 
judge the right time has come. And after this fashion they 
have won many a fight. 

94. Paper Money of the Great Khan ^ 

It is a surprising fact that the Chinese regularly employed paper 
money as early as the ninth century. From them the Mongols adopted 
the custom of issuing this kind of currency. 

The khan issues his money after this fashion. He makes them 
take of the bark of the mulberry tree, the leaves of which are the 
food of the silkworms. What they take is a certain fine white 

1 Book oj Ser Marco Polo, bk. ii, ch. 24. 

2o6 The Travels of Marco Polo 

bast or skin, which lies between the wood of the tree and the 
thick outer bark, and this they make into something resembling 
sheets of paper, but black. When these sheets have been pre- 
pared, they are cut up into pieces of different sizes, having dif- 
ferent values. . . . There is also a kind worth one bezant of 
gold,^ and others of three bezants, and so up to ten. All these 
pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority 
as if they were of pure gold or silver; and on every piece a 
number of officials have to write their names and put their 
seals. And when all is duly prepared, the chief officer deputed 
by the khan smears the seal intrusted to him with vermilion, 
and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the seal re- 
mains printed upon it in red. The money is then authentic, 
and anyone forging it would be punished with death. The 
khan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this 
money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount 
all the treasure in the world. 

With these pieces of paper, he makes all payments on his 
own account; and he requires them to pass current universally 
over all his kingdoms, provinces, and territories. And nobody, 
however important he may think himself, dares refuse them on 
pain of death. And, indeed, everybody takes them readily, 
for wheresoever a person may go throughout the Great Khan's 
dominions he shall find these pieces of paper current, and shall 
be able to transact all sales and purchases of goods by means 
of them, just as well as if they were coins of pure gold. And all 
the while they are so light that ten bezants' worth does not 
weigh one golden bezant. . . . 

When any of those pieces of paper are spoilt — not that they 
are so very ffimsy — the owner carries them to the mint, and, 
by paying three per cent of the value he gets new pieces in 
exchange. And if anyone has need of gold or silver or gems 
or pearls, in order to make plate, or girdles, or the like, he goes 

1 The gold coin, known as a bezant (from Byzantium or Constantinople, where it 
was struck), circulated throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. There was 
also a silver bezant. 

Coal in China 


to the mint and buys as much as he requires, paying in this 
paper money. 

95. Coal in China ^ 

It is a fact that all over the country of Cathay there are 
black stones existing in beds in the mountains, which the people 
dig out and burn like firewood. If you supply the fire with them 
at night and see that they are well kindled, you will find them 
stih alight in the morning; and they make such capital fuel 
that no other is used throughout the country. It is true that 
the Chinese have plenty of wood also, but they do not burn it, 
because these stones burn better and cost less. 

Moreover with that vast number of people, and the number 
of hot baths that they maintain — for every one has such a bath 
at least three times a week, and in winter if possible every day, 
while every nobleman and man of wealth has a private bath for 
his own use — the wood would not suffice for the purpose.^ 

96. Chinese Astrologers ^ 

There are in the city of Cambaluc, what with Christians, 
Saracens, and Cathayans, some five thousand astrologers and 
soothsayers, whom the Great Khan provides with annual 
maintenance and clothing, and they are in the constant exercise 
of their art in this city. 

They have a kind of astrolabe on which are inscribed the 
planetary signs, the hours, and critical points of the whole 
year. And every year these Christian, Saracen, and Cathayan 
astrologers, each sect apart, investigate by means of this astro- 
labe the course and character of the whole year, according to 
the indications of each of its months. They try to discover by 
the natural course and disposition of the planets, and the 
other circumstances of the heavens, what shall be the nature 
of the weather, and what peculiarities shall be produced by 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. ii, ch. 30. 

2 Coal exists in every one of the eighteen provinces of China. In this respect 
the country is one of the richest in the world. 

3 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. ii, ch. :i:^. 

2o8 The Travels of Marco Polo 

each moon of the year; as, for example, under which moon there 
shall be thunderstorms and tempests, under which there shall 
be disease, wars, disorders, and treasons, and so on, according 
to the indications of each; but always adding that it lies with 
God to do less or more according to His pleasure. And they 
write down the results of their examination in certain little 
pamphlets for the year, and these are sold for a trifle to all who 
desire to know what is coming. Those astrologers whose pre- 
dictions are found to be most exact are held to be the greatest 
adapts in their art, and get the greater fame. 

If anyone having some great matter in hand, or proposing 
to make a long journey for traflic or other business, desires to 
know what will be the upshot, he goes to one of these astrol- 
ogers and says, "Turn up your books and see what is the present 
aspect of the heavens, for I am going away on such and such a 
business." Then the astrologer will reply that the applicant 
must also tell the year, month, and hour of his birth; and when 
he has got that information he will see how the horoscope of 
his nativity combines with the indications of the time when 
the question is put, and then he predicts the result, good or bad, 
according to the aspect of the heavens.^ 

97. A Description of Japan 2 

Cipango ^ is an island toward the east in the high seas, fifteen 
hundred miles distant from the continent; and a very great 
islmd it is. 

The people are white, civilized, and well-favored. They are 
idolaters, and are dependent on nobody. And I can tell you 
the quantity of gold they have is endless; for they find it in 

1 The Chinese are still much given to astrology. Their popular calendars 
classify all the days of the month as very lucky, lucky, neither lucky nor unlucky, 
unlucky, and very unlucky. In China there is also a government almanac, 
prepared at Peking by state astrologers, for the purpose of marking the days 
considered fortunate or unfortunate for various undertakings. 

2 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. iii, chs. 2, 4. 

' Cipango, the old name of Japan, represents the Chinese Jihpen-kwe, "the 
origin of the sun," that is, the country of the rising sun. Nippon, the name by 
which the Japanese know their country, has the same meaning. 

A Description of Japan 209 

their own islands and their king does not allow it to be exported. 
Moreover, few merchants visit the country because it is so far 
from the mainland, and thus it comes to pass that their gold 
is abundant beyond all measure. 

I will tell you a wonderful thing about the palace of the 
lord of that island. You must know that he has a great palace 
which is entirely roofed with fine gold, just as our churches 
are roofed with lead, insomuch that it would scarcely be possible 
to estimate its value. Moreover, all the pavement of the palace 
and the floors of its chambers are entirely of gold, in plates like 
slabs of stone, a good two fingers thick; and the windows also 
are of gold, so that altogether the richness of this palace is past 
all bounds and all belief. 

They have also pearls in abundance, which are of a rose 
color, but fine, big, and round, and quite as valuable as the 
white ones. In this island some of the dead are buried and 
others are burnt. When a body is burnt, they put one of these 
pearls in the mouth, for such is their custom. They have also 
quantities of other precious stones. 

Now you must know that the idols of Cathay and of this 
island are all of the same class. And in this island, as well as 
elsewhere, some of the idols have the head of an ox, some have 
the head of a pig, some of a dog, some of a sheep, and some of 
other kinds. And some of them have four heads, while some 
have three, one growing out of either shoulder. There are also 
'some that have four hands, some ten, some a thousand! And 
they do put more faith in those idols that have a thousand 
hands than in any of the others. And when any Christian asks 
them why they make their idols in so many different forms, and 
not all alike, they reply that just so their forefathers were wont 
to have them made, and just so they will leave them to their 
children, and these to succeeding generations. And so they 
will be handed down forever. And you must understand that 
the deeds ascribed to these idols are such a parcel of devil- 
tries as it is best not to tell. So let us have done with the idols 
and speak of other things. 

2IO The Travels of Marco Polo 

But I must tell you one thing still concerning that island 
(and it is the same with the other East Indian islands), that if 
the natives take prisoner an enemy who cannot pay a ransom, 
he who has the prisoner summons all his friends and relations, 
and they put the prisoner to death, and then they cook him 
and eat him, and they say there is no meat in the world so good! 

98. The Pearl-Fishers of Ceylon ^ 

You must know that the sea here forms a gulf between the 
island of Ceylon and the mainland. And all round this gulf 
the water has a depth of no more than ten or twelve fathoms, 
and in some places no more than two fathoms. The pearl- 
fishers take their vessels, great and small, and proceed into this 
gulf, where they stop from the beginning of April till the mid- 
dle of May. . . . Here they cast anchor and shift from their 
large vessels into small boats. You must know that the many 
merchants who go divide into various companies, and each of 
these must engage a number of men on wages, hiring them 
for April and half of May. Of all the produce they have first 
to pay the king, as his royalty, the tenth part. And they must 
also pay those men who charm the great fishes, to prevent them 
from injuring the divers while engaged in seeking pearls under 
water, a twentieth part of all that they take. These fish- 
charmers are termed Brahmans; and their charm holds good 
for that day only, for at night they dissolve the charm so that 
the fishes can work mischief at their will. These Brahmans' 
know also how to charm beasts and birds and every living 
thing. When the men have got into the small boats, they 
jump into the water and dive to the bottom, which may be at a 
depth of from four to twelve fathoms, and there they remain as 
long as they are able. And there they find the shells that con- 
tain the pearls, and these they put into a net bag tied round the 
waist and mount up to the surface with them, and then dive 
anew. When they cannot hold their breath any longer they 
come up again, and after a little while down they dive once 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. iii, ch. i6. 

Hindu Brahmans 211 

more, and so they go on all day. The shells are like those of 
oysters. And in these shells are found pearls, great and small, 
of every kind, sticking in the flesh of the shell fish. 

In this manner pearls are secured in great quantities, for 
thence in fact come the pearls which are spread all over the 
world. And I can tell you the king of that state has a very 
great treasure from his dues upon those pearls. 

99. Hindu Brahmans ^ 

While visiting India, Marco Polo came in contact with the Hindu 
priests, or Brahmans. He describes their characteristics at some 

The Brahmans are idolaters; and they pay greater heed to 
signs and omens than any other people. I will mention as an 
example one of their customs. To every day of the week they 
assign an augury of this sort. Suppose that there is some pur- 
chase in hand, he who proposes to buy, when he gets up in the 
morning takes note of his own shadow in the sun, which he 
says ought to be on that day of such and such a length; and if 
his shadow be of the proper length for the day he completes his 
purchase; if not, he will on no account do so, but waits till his 
shadow corresponds with that prescribed. For there is a length 
established for the shadow for every day of the week; and the 
merchant will complete no business unless he finds his shadow 
of the length set down for that particular day. . . . 

Again, if one of them is in the house, and is meditating a 
purchase, should he see a tarantula (such as are very common 
in that country) on the wall, provided it advances from a quarter 
that he deems lucky, he will complete his purchase at once; 
but if it comes from a quarter that he considers unlucky he 
will not do so on any inducement. Moreover, if in going out, 
he hears anyone sneeze, if it seems to him a good omen he will 
go on, but if the reverse he will sit down on the spot where he 
is, as long as he thinks that he ought to tarry before going on 
again. Or, if in travehng along the road he sees a swallow 

1 Book of Ser Marco Polo, bk. iii, ch. 20. 

212 The Travels of Marco Polo 

fly by, should its direction be lucky he will proceed, but if not, 
he will turn back again. . . . 

There are certain members of the order who lead the most 
ascetic life in the world, going stark naked; and these worship 
the ox. Most of them have a small ox of brass or pewter or 
gold, which they wear tied over the forehead. Moreover, they 
take cowdung and burn it, and make a powder thereof; and 
make an ointment of it, and daub themselves withal, doing this 
with as great devotion as Christians use holy water. If 
they meet anyone who treats them well, they daub a little of 
this powder on the middle of his forehead. 

They eat not from bowls or trenchers, but put their victuals 
on large leaves; these, however, they use dry, never green. 
For they say the green leaves have a soul in them, and so it 
would be a sin to use them. And they would rather die than 
do what they deem their law pronounces to be sin. If anyone 
asks how it comes that they are not ashamed to go stark naked 
as they do, they say, "We go naked because naked we came into 
the world, and we desire to have nothing about us that is of this 
world. Moreover, we have no sin of the flesh to be conscious 
of, and therefore we are not ashamed of our nakedness, any 
more than you are to show your hand or your face. You who 
are conscious of the sins of the flesh do well to have shame and 
to cover your nakedness." 

They would not kill an animal on any account, not even a 
fly, or a flea, or a louse, or anything in fact that has life; for 
they say these aU have souls, and it would be sin to do so. 
They do not eat vegetables in a green state, but only such as 
are dry. And they sleep on the ground stark naked, without 
a scrap of clothing on them or under them, so that it is a 
marvel they do not aU die, in place of living so long as I have 
told you. They fast every day in the year and drink nought 
but water. And when a novice has to be received among them 
they keep him awhile in their convent and make him follow their 
rule of life. . . . 

They are such cruel and perfidious idolaters that it is very 

Hindu Brahmans 213 

deviltry! They say that they burn the bodies of the dead 
because if they were not burnt worms would be bred which 
would eat the body; and when no more food remained for them 
these worms would die, and the soul belonging to that body 
would bear the sin and the punishment of their death. And 
that is why they burn their dead. 



The narratives of the voyages of Elizabethan mariners 
form England's true prose epic; and in Richard Hakluyt 
she found, not her Homer, indeed, but the man who did 
most to preserve the records of these voyages for suc- 
ceeding times. His fame mainly rests on The Principal 
Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the 
English Nation, a large work in three volumes, of which 
a second edition was published in 1 596-1 600. As the 
title indicates, it is a compilation of the various accounts 
of the adventurous journeys made by English seamen 
in the Old World and the New, chiefly during the six- 
teenth century. Had not Hakluyt formed his collection, 
doubtless many of the narratives in it would have been 
lost. The book is a treasure-house of material for the 
history of geographical discovery and colonization. It 
also contains many interesting descriptions of aboriginal 
peoples. . 

100. The Indians of Dominica and Venezuela 2 

The history of the English in America may be said to begin with the 
three slave-trading voyages of Sir John Hawkins of Plymouth. These 
were made in the years 1562-63, 1564-65, and 1567-68. On his first 
voyage Hawkins took a cargo of negro slaves from Africa to the Span- 
ish colony of Hispaniola (Haiti). His were the first English ships to 

1 The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English 
Nation, edited by Richard Hakluyt. 12 vols. Glasgow, 1903-1905. James 
MacLehose and Sons. 

2 Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, vol. x, pp. 25, 27-28. 

The Indians of Dominica and Venezuela 215 

navigate the West Indian seas. Hawkins's second voyage ^ was on a 
more extensive scale. He sailed with three ships to the Guinea coast, 
procured a large number of negroes, and then started across the Atlan- 
tic to the West Indies. The first land sighted was the island of Dominica, 
one of the Lesser Antilles. 

The cannibals of this island, and also others adjacent, are 
the most desperate warriors in the West Indies, by the report 
of the Spaniards, who are never able to conquer them. . . . Not 
two months past, in the said island, a ship being driven to 
water there, was in the night set upon by the inhabitants, 
who cut its cable, whereby the sailors were driven ashore and 
so taken by them and eaten. The Green Dragon of Newhaven, 
whose captain was one Bontemps, came to one of those islands, 
called Grenada; and, being driven to water, could not do so on 
account of the cannibals, who fought with him very desperately 
for two days. For our part, also, if we had not lighted upon 
the most deserted place in all that island, we could not have 
missed them, but should have been greatly troubled by them. 

From Dominica Hawkins sailed southward to the coast of Vene- 
zuela. Here he came into contact with the Cumanas, an Indian tribe 
which had reached a considerable degree of civilization. They lived 
in fixed villages, practiced agriculture, and were bold and skillful war- 

Near this place were certain Indians, who the next day after 
we arrived came down to us, presenting mill and cakes of bread, 
which they had made of a kind of corn called maize. ^ . . . 
Also they brought down to us hens, sweet potatoes, and pine- 
apples, which we bought for beads, pewter whistles, glasses, 
knives, and other trifles. 

These sweet potatoes are the most delicate roots that may 
be eaten, and far exceed our parsnips or carrots. Their pine- 
apples are of the bigness of two fists, the outside whereof is 

1 The narrative of this voyage is by John Sparke, one of the members of the 

2 Indian corn, or maize, one of the most important of the cereals, originated 
in the New World, where it was extensively cultivated. 

2i6 The Aborigines of the New World 

rough, but it is soft like the rind of a cucumber, and the inside 
eateth like an apple; but it is more dehcious than any sweet 
apple sugared. The Indians are of tawny color, having every 
one of them, both men and women, hair all black, the women 
wearing the same hanging down to their shoulders, and the 
men rounded, and without beards. Neither men nor women 
allow any hair to grow in any part of their body, but daily 
pull it off as it groweth. . . . These people are very small 
feeders; for traveling they carry but two small bottles of 
gourds, wherein they put, in one the juice of sorrel whereof 
they have great store, and in the other flour of their maize, 
which, being moist, they eat, taking sometime of the other. 

Every man carries his bow and arrows. Some arrows are 
poisoned for wars. These they keep together in a cane, which 
cane is of the bigness of a man's arm; other arrows are pro- 
vided with broad heads of iron, wherewith they strike fish in 
the water. . . . They are such good archers that the Spaniards 
for fear thereof arm themselves and their horses with quilted 
canvas two inches thick, and leave no place of their body 
open to their enemies, except their eyes, which they may not 
hide; and yet oftentimes are they hit in that so small an open- 
ing. Their poison is of such a force that a man being stricken 
therewith dieth within four-and-twenty hours, as the Spaniards 
affirm; and, in my judgment, it is likely there can be no stronger 
poison as they make it. They use apples which are very fair 
and red of color, but are a strong poison, together with ven- 
omous bats, vipers, adders, and other serpents. Of all these 
they make a mixture, and therewith anoint the points of their 

101. The Natives of Florida ^ 

Having disposed of his slaves and loaded his vessels with hides and 
other West Indian products, Hawkins started on the return voyage. 
In the Caribbean the current carried him far to the leeward, compelling 
him to double the western point of Cuba and sail past the shores of 
Florida. He visited the French settlement in Florida, and thence 

1 Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, vol. x, pp. Si-53- 

The Natives of Florida 217 

proceeded northward to Newfoundland, and so, with the prevailing 
westerly winds, to England. This was the pioneer voyage made by 
Englishmen along the coast of what is now the United States. 

Their houses are not many together, for in one house a hun- 
dred of them lodge. A house is made much like a great barn, 
and in strength not inferior to ours, for they have stanchions 
and rafters of whole trees, and are covered with palmito leaves. 
... In the midst of each house is a hearth, where they make 
great fires all night; and they sleep upon certain pieces of wood 
hewn in for the bowing of their backs, and another piece made 
high for their heads. In their houses they remain only at night, 
and in the day they frequent the fields, where they prepare their 
food. . . . There is one thing to be marveled at, for the making 
of their fire, and not only they, but the negroes also do the same. 
Their fire is made only by two sticks, rubbing them one against 
another; and this they may do in any place they come, where 
they find sticks sufficient for the purpose. 

In their apparel the men use only deer skins . . . which are 
painted, some yellow and red, some black and russet, and every 
man according to his own taste. They do not omit to paint 
their bodies also with curious knots, or antique work, as every 
man in his own fancy deviseth. To make this painting con- 
tinue the better, they prick their flesh with a thorn, and dent 
in the same, whereby the painting may have better hold. ... In 
their wars they use bows and arrows, whereof their bows are 
made of a kind of yew, but blacker than ours. . . . Their arrows 
are also of a great length, but yet of reeds, hke those of other 
Indians; but varying in two points, both in length and also for 
nocks and feathers, whereby they shoot very steady. The 
heads of the same are vipers' teeth, bones of fish, and flint 
stones. Points of knives, which they obtained from the 
Frenchmen, they broke and used in their arrowheads. . . . The 
women for their apparel also use painted skins, but most of 
them wear gowns of moss, somewhat longer than our moss. 
These they sew together artificially, and make in the form 
of a surplice. 

2iS The Aborigines of the New World 

102. The Carolina Indians ^ 

Sir Walter Raleigh, having obtained from Queen Elizabeth the 
privilege of founding a settlement in America, sent over in 1584 two 
small ships commanded by Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow. They 
reached the New World in the latitude of North CaroUna and spent 
several weeks viewing the country and trading with the Indians. Bar- 
low, in his narrative of the voyage, writes enthusiastically of the natives, 
whom he describes as " most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all 
guile and treason, and living after the manner of the Golden Age." 

The next day there came unto us a number of boats, and in 
one of them the king's brother, accompanied by forty or fifty 
men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behavior as 
mannerly and civil as any Europeans. . . . When he came to the 
place, his servants spread a long mat upon the ground, on 
which he sat down, and at the other end of the mat four 
others of his company did the like; the rest of his men stood 
round about him somewhat afar off. When we came to him, 
with our weapons, he never moved from his place, nor any of the 
other four, nor ever mistrusted any harm to be offered from us; 
but, sitting still, he beckoned us to come and sit by him, which 
we did; and, being set, he made all signs of joy and welcome, 
striking on his head and his breast and afterwards on ours, 
to show we were all friends. After he had made a long speech 
to us, we presented him with various things, which he received 
very joyfully and thankfully. None of the company dared 
speak one word all the time; only the four which were at the 
other end spoke in one another's ears very softly. 

After we had presented the king's brother with such things 
as we thought he liked, we likewise made presents to the others, 
who sat on the mat. But he arose and put them into his own 
basket, making signs and tokens that everything ought to be 
delivered unto him, and that the rest were only his servants and 
followers. A day or two after this we fell to trading with them, 
exchanging some things that we had for chamois, buff, and deer 
skins. When we showed him our packet of merchandise, 

1 Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, vol. viii, pp. 300-303. 

The Carolina Indians 219 

of all things that he saw a bright tin dish most pleased him, 
which he presently took up and clapt before his breast. After- 
wards he made a hole in the brim thereof and hung it about his 
neck, making signs that it would defend him against the arrows 
of his enemies. For these people maintain a deadly and fear- 
ful war with the people and king adjoining. We exchanged 
our tin dish for twenty skins, worth twenty crowns, and a copper 
kettle for fifty skins, worth fifty crowns. They offered good 
exchange for our hatchets, axes, knives, and would have given 
anything for swords; but we would not part with any. 

After two or three days the king's brother came aboard the 
ships and drank wine, and partook of our meat and of our bread, 
and liked exceedingly thereof. And after a few days had passed 
he brought to the ships his wife, his daughter, and two or three 
of his children. His wife was a good looking woman, of small 
stature, and very bashful. She had on her back a long cloak 
of leather, with the fur side next to her body, and before her 
a piece of the same. About her forehead she had a band of 
white coral. In her ears she had bracelets of pearls. . . . The 
rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper 
hanging in either ear, and some of the children of the king's 
brother and other noblemen had five or six in either ear; he 
himself had upon his head a broad plate of gold or copper. . . . 
His apparel was as his wife's, only the women wear their hair 
long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of color 
yellowish, and their hair black for the most part; and yet we 
saw children that had very fine auburn and chestnut-colored 
hair. . . . 

Their boats are made of one tree, either of pine or of pitch- 
trees; a wood not commonly known to our people, nor found 
growing in England. They have no edge-tools to make them 
with; or if they have any they are very few. They got some, 
years ago, out of a wreck of a Christian ship which had been 
beaten that way by some storm and outrageous weather. None 
of the crew were saved, but the ship, or some part of her, being 
cast upon the sand, they drew the nails and the spikes, and 

220 The Aborigines of the New World 

made them into their best instruments. For the construction of 
a boat they burn down some great tree, or take such as are wind- 
fallen, and, putting gum and resin upon one side thereof, they set 
fire to it, and when the fire hath burnt it hollow they cut out 
the coal with their shells, and wherever they would burn it 
deeper or wider they lay on gums, which burn away the timber. 
By this means they fashion a very fine boat, such as will trans- 
port twenty men. Their oars are like scoops, and many times 
they set with long poles, as the depth serveth. 

103. The Eskimos ^ 

Sir Martin Frobisher was another Elizabethan seaman who helped 
to open the way for the settlement of Englishmen in America. He 
was the pioneer in the long and fruitless search for a Northwest Passage 
leading from Europe to Asia. The passage once discovered, Frobisher 
intended to plant colonies on the Pacific shore of the New World. 
Frobisher made voyages to the Arctic regions during the years 15 76-1 5 78. 
The narrative of the third voyage ^ includes an interesting description 
of the Eskimos, a people hitherto almost unknown to Europeans. 

They are very active and nimble men. They are a strong 
people and very warlike, for they would often muster them- 
selves, and, after the manner of a skirmish, trace their ground 
very rapidly and manage their bows and darts with great 
dexterity. They go clad in coats made of the skins of beasts, 
as of seals, deer, bears, foxes, and hares. They have also some 
garments of feathers, finely sewed and compacted together. 
... In summer they wear the hairy side of their coats outward, 
and sometimes go naked because of the heat. And in winter, 
as by signs they have declared, they wear four or five fold 
upon their bodies, with the hair turned inwards for warmth. . . . 

These people are in nature very subtle and sharp-witted. 
They are able to understand our meaning by signs and to make 
answer in the same manner. And if they have not seen the 
thing whereof you ask them, they will wink, or cover their 
eyes with their hands, as if to say, it hath been hid from their 

1 Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, vol. vii, pp. 369-374. 

2 By George Best, captain of one of Frobisher's ships. 

The Eskimos 221 

sight. If they do not understand what you ask them, they 
will stop their ears. They will teach us the names of each 
thing in their language which we desire to learn, and are apt 
in learning anything of us. They take very great delight in 
music, and will keep time and stroke to any tune which you 
sing, both with their voice, head, hands, and feet, and will sing 
the same tune aptly after you. They will row with our oars 
in our boats and keep a true stroke with our mariners, and seem 
to find much pleasure therein. They live in caves of the earth 
and hunt for their dinners or prey, even as the bears or other 
wild beasts do. They eat raw flesh and fish and refuse no 
meat of any sort. They are desperate in their warfare, sullen 
of nature, and ravenous in their manner of feeding. . . . 

For their weapons to fight their enemies or kill their prey 
they have darts, slings, bows, and arrows headed with sharp 
stones, bones, and some with iron. They are exceeding friendly 
and kind-hearted, one to the other, and mourn greatly at the 
loss or harm of their fellows; and express their grief of mind, 
when they part one from another, with mournful songs and 
dirges. . . . 

They have boats made of leather, and covered clean over, 
saving one place in the middle to sit in; and they row therein 
with one oar more swiftly a great deal than we in our boats can 
do with twenty. They have one sort of larger boats wherein 
they can carry above twenty persons; and have a mast with a 
sail thereon, which sail is made of thin skins or bladders sewed 
together with the sinews of fishes. They are good fishermen 
and in their small boats, being disguised with their coats of seals' 
skins, they deceive the fish, who take them rather for seals than 
for men. They are good marksmen. With their dart or 
arrow they will hit a duck, or any other fowl, in the head. 
When they shoot at a great fish with any of their darts, 
they tie a bladder thereunto, whereby they may the better 
find them again; and the fish, not able to carry it so easily 
away, because the bladder doth buoy the dart, will at length 
be weary and die therewith. 

222 The Aborigines of the New World 

They traffic and exchange their commodities with some other 
people, of whom they secure such things as their miserable 
country, and ignorance of art to make, denieth them to have; 
as bars of iron, heads of iron for their darts, needles made four- 
square, and certain buttons of copper, which they wear upon 
their foreheads for ornament, as our ladies in the court of 
England use pearls. Also they have made signs unto us that 
they have seen gold. . . . 

They have nothing in use among them to make fire withal, 
except a kind of heath, and moss which groweth there; and 
they kindle their fire with continual rubbing and fretting one 
stick against another, as we do with flints. They draw with 
dogs in sleds upon the ice, and remove their tents therewithal, 
wherein they dwell in summer, when they go hunting for their 
prey and provision against winter. They do sometimes par- 
boil their meat a little and seethe the same in kettles made of 
beasts' skins; they have also pans cut and made of stone very 
artificially. They use various traps wherewith they take fowl. 
The women carry their sucking children at their backs, and do 
feed them with raw flesh, which first they chew a little in their 
own mouths. The women have their faces marked or painted 
over with small blue spots; they have black and long hair on 
their heads, and trim the same in a decent order. The men 
have but little hair on their faces and very thin beards. . . . 

We have not yet found any venomous serpent or other hurt- 
ful thing in these parts; but there is a kind of small fly or gnat 
that stingeth and offendeth sorely, leaving many red spots 
in the face and other places where it stingeth. They have 
snow and hail in the best time of their summer, and the ground 
frozen three fathoms deep. 

These people are great enchanters, and use many charms of 
witchcraft; for when their heads ache they tie a great stone 
with a string unto a stick, and with certain prayers and words 
done to the stick they lift up the stone from the ground, which 
sometimes with all a man's force they cannot stir, and some- 
times again they lift as easily as a feather; and hope thereby 

The California Indians 223 

with certain ceremonious words to have ease and help. And 
they made us by signs to understand, lying groveling with their 
faces upon the ground, and making a noise downward, that 
they worship the spirits under them. 

104. The California Indians 1 

Sir Francis Drake, most adventurous of Elizabethan seamen, won un- 
dying fame as the iirst Englishman to sail around the world. While 
still a young man Drake acquired a great reputation in fighting against 
the Spaniards in the West Indies. At this time he crossed the isthmus 
of Panama, and from the top of a high tree obtained his first view of the 
Pacific. Drake then and there prayed God " to give him life and leave 
to sail once in an English ship upon that sea." Queen Elizabeth fa- 
vored his project and furnished him with the means to carry it out. The 
fleet with which he set out in December, 1577, consisted of only five 
small vessels, and their united crews mustered only one hundred and 
sixty-six men. Drake reached the coast of Brazil in April, 1578, and a 
few months later entered the strait of Magellan. He then sailed along 
the South American coast, capturing the Spanish galleons laden with sil- 
ver and even seizing the treasures in the unprotected Peruvian ports. 
Drake deemed it unsafe to return by the same route, because of the 
danger of being intercepted in the strait of Magellan by the Spaniards. 
He therefore continued northward along the coast of California and took 
possession of the country in the name of the queen. The place where 
he landed (June, 1579) remains doubtful, but it was probably a small 
bay just south of San Francisco. Drake remained in California for 
some time, refitting his ship, the Golden Hind, in preparation for the 
homeward voyage. The account '^ of his expedition contains the follow- 
ing description of the aboriginal inhabitants of CaHfornia. 

In this bay we anchored; and the people of the country, 
having their houses close by the water's side, showed them- 
selves unto us and sent a present to our general. When they 
came unto us they greatly wondered at the things that we 
brought. But our general, according to his natural and ac- 
customed humanity, courteously treated them and liberally 
bestowed on them necessary things to cover their nakedness; 
whereupon they supposed us to be gods, and would not be 

1 Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, vol. xi, pp. iig-122. 

2 Written by Francis Pretty, one of Drake's gentlemen-at-arms. 

2 24 The Aborigines of the New Worid 

persuaded to the contrary. The presents which they sent to 
our general were feathers and cauls of net-work. . . . 

After they had departed from us, they came and visited us 
the second time, and brought with them feathers and bags of 
tobacco for presents. And when they came to the top of 
the hill, at the bottom whereof we had pitched our tents, they 
stationed themselves. Then an Indian, appointed for speaker, 
wearied himself with making a long oration; which done they 
left their bows upon the hill and came down with their presents. 
In the meantime the women remaining upon the hill tormented 
themselves lamentably, tearing their flesh from their cheeks, 
whereby we perceived that they were engaged in a sacrifice. . . . 

The news of our arrival having spread through the country, 
the people who lived round about came down, and among them 
the king himself, a man of a goodly stature and comely per- 
son, with many other tall and warlike men; before whose 
arrival were sent two ambassadors to our general, to signify 
that their king was coming. . . . This ended, they by signs 
requested our general to send something by their hand to 
their king, as a token that his coming might be in peace. 
Our general having satisfied them, they returned with glad tid- 
ings to their king, who marched to us with a princely majesty, 
the people crying continually after their manner; and as they 
drew near unto us, they tried to behave with comehness. In 
the forefront was a man of a goodly personage, who bore the 
scepter or mace before the king; whereupon hanged two crowns. 
. . . Next to him who bore the scepter was the king himself, 
with his guard about his person, clad with coney skins. After 
them followed the naked common sort of people, every one 
having his face painted, some with white, some with black, 
and some in colors, and having in their hands one thing or 
another for a present. Even their children brought presents. 

In the meantime our general gathered his men together and 
marched within his fenced place, making a very warlike show. 
. . . The general permitted them to enter within our bulwark, 
where they continued their song and dance a reasonable time. 

The California Indians 225 

When they had satisfied themselves, they made signs to our 
general to sit down; to whom the king and other persons made 
several orations, or rather supplications, that he would take 
their province and kingdom into his hand, and become their 
king, making signs that they would resign unto him their right 
and title of the whole land and become his subjects. In which, 
to persuade us the better, the king and the rest, did set the crown 
upon his head, enriched his neck with all their chains, and offered 
him many other things, saluting him by the name of Hioh, 
adding thereunto, as it seemed, a sign of triumph. This honor 
our general thought not meet to reject, because he knew not 
what profit it might be to our country. Wherefore in the 
name, and to the use of the queen, he took the scepter, 
crown, and dignity of the said country into his hands, wishing 
that the riches and treasure thereof might so conveniently be 
transported to the enriching of her kingdom at home, as it 
aboundeth in the same. 

In July, 1579, Drake set out on the long journey across the Pacific. 
He reached the East Indies in November of that year, but did not arrive 
in England till the following September. His circumnavigation of the 
globe was thus performed in about two years and ten months. Queen 
EHzabeth visited the bold mariner at Deptford, knighted him on ship- 
board, and gave orders that his vessel should be preserved as a memorial 
of the voyage. 



Martin Luther, despite his busy life as professor, 
preacher, translator of the Bible, and leader of the Ref- 
ormation, was so voluminous a correspondent that the 
complete collection of those of his letters which have 
been preserved fills no less than ten volumes. He could 
never have imagined that his private letters would some- 
time see the light of day, else we should not have had 
in them so frank a revelation of his personality. Luther's 
correspondence mirrors the man — his faults and petty 
weaknesses, as well as his fine spiritual nature, his intrepid 
will, and his devotion to truth as he saw the truth. 
Luther had many friends, among them John Lang and 
George Spalatin, who had been his fellow-students in 
the University of Erfurt, and Philip Melanchthon. 
Some of his letters to these men, together with the letters 
which he addressed to the archbishop of Mayence, Pope 
Leo X, and the emperor Charles V, present a fascinating 
account of the early days of the Reformation. 

105. To John Lang 2 

... I am at present reading our Erasmus, but my heart recoils 
more and more from him. But one thing I admire is, that he 
constantly and learnedly accuses not only the monks, but also 
the priests, of a lazy, deep-rooted ignorance. Only, I fear that 

1 The Letters of Martin Luther, translated by Margaret A. Currie. London, 
1908. Macmillan and Company. 

2 Currie, Letters, No. xi. 

Letters by Martin Luther 227 

he does not spread Christ and God's grace sufficiently abroad, 
of which he knows very httle. The human is to him of more 
importance than the divine. 

Although unwilling to judge him, I warn you not to read 
blindly what he writes. For we live in perilous times, and 
every one who is a good Hebrew and Greek scholar is not a 
true Christian; even St. Jerome, with his five languages, 
cannot approach St. Augustine with his one language. Eras- 
mus, of course, views all this from a different standpoint. 
Those who ascribe something to man's freedom of will regard 
such things differently from those who know only God's free 
grace.^ . . . 

106. To Albrecht, Archbishop of Mayence 2 

.... With your Electoral Highness's consent, the papal indul- 
gence for the rebuilding of St. Peter's in Rome is being carried 
through the land. I do not complain so much of the loud cry of 
the preacher of indulgences, which I have not heard, but regret 
the false meaning which the simple folk attach to them, the 
poor souls believing that when they have purchased such letters 
they have secured their salvation; that the moment the money 
tingles in the box souls are delivered from Purgatory, and that 
all sins will be forgiven through a letter of indulgence, even 
the sin of reviling the blessed Mother of God, were anyone 
blasphemous enough to do so. And, lastly, they believe that 
through these indulgences a man is freed from all penalties! 
Ah, dear God! Thus are those souls which have been committed 
to your care, dear father, being led in the paths of death, and 
for them you will be required to render an account. . . . There- 
fore, I could be silent no longer. 

How then can you, through false promises of indulgences, 
which do not promote the salvation or sanctification of their 
souls, lead the people into carnal security, by declaring them 
free from the painful consequences of their wrongdoing, with 
which the Church was wont to punish their sins? 

1 Written from Wittenberg, March i, 1517. - Currie, Letters, No. xvi. 

228 The Beginning of the Reformation 

Deeds of piety and love are infinitely better than indulgences, 
and yet the bishops do not preach these so earnestly, although 
it is their principal duty to proclaim the love of Christ to their 
people. Christ has nowhere commanded indulgences to be 
preached, but the Gospel. So to what danger does a bishop 
expose himself, who, instead of having the Gospel proclaimed 
among the people, dooms it to silence, while the cry of indul- 
gences resounds through the land? Will Christ not say to them, 
*'Ye strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel?" 

In addition, reverend father, it has gone abroad under your 
name, but doubtless without your knowledge, that this indul- 
gence is the priceless gift of God, whereby the man may be 
reconciled to God and escape the fires of Purgatory, and that 
those who purchase the indulgences have no need of repentance. 

What else can I do, right reverend father, than beg your 
Serene Highness carefully to look into this matter, and do 
away with this little book of instructions. If you do not 
command those preachers to adopt another style of preaching, 
another may arise and refute them, by writing another book 
in answer to the previous one, to the confusion of your Serene 
Highness, the very idea of which alarms me greatly. I hope 
that your Serene Highness may graciously deign to accept 
the faithful service which your insignificant servant, with true 
devotion, would render you. . . . 

If agreeable to your Grace, perhaps you will glance at my 
inclosed theses, that you may see that the opinion on the in- 
dulgences is a very varied one, while those who proclaim them 
fancy they cannot be disputed.^ 

107. To Pope Leo X 2 

I know, most holy father, that evil reports are being spread 
about me, some friends having vilified me to your Holiness, 
as if I were trying to belittle the power of the keys and of the 
Supreme Pontiff. I am accused of being a heretic and a rene- 

1 Written from Wittenberg, October 31, 15 17. 2 Currie, Letters, No. xxiv. 

Letters by Martin Luther 229 

gade, and a thousand other ill names are hurled at me, enough 
to make my ears tingle and my eyes start in my head. My 
one source of confidence is an innocent conscience. . . . But, 
most holy father, I must hasten to the point, hoping your 
Holiness will graciously listen to me, for I am as awkward as a 

Some time ago the preaching of the apostolic jubilee of the 
indulgences was begun. It soon made such headway that 
these preachers thought they could say what they wished, 
under the shelter of your Holiness's name, alarming the people 
at such malicious, heretical hes being proclaimed to the derision 
of the spiritual powers. And, not satisfied with pouring out 
their venom, they have disseminated the little book in which 
their malicious lies are confirmed, binding the father confessors 
by oath to inculcate those lies upon their people. I shall not 
enlarge upon the disgraceful greed with which every syllable 
of this tiny book reeks. This is true, and no one can shut his 
eyes to the scandal, for it is manifest in the book. And they 
continue to lead the people captive with their vain consolation, 
plucking, as the prophet Micah says, " their skin from off them, 
and their flesh from off their bones," while they wallow in abun- 
dance themselves. They use your Holiness's name to allay 
the uproar they cause, and threaten them with fire and sword 
and the ignominy of being called heretics; nay, one can scarcely 
believe the wiles they use to cause confusion among the people. 
Complaints are universal as to the greed of the priests, while 
the power of the keys and the pope is being discredited in 

And when I heard of such things I burned with zeal for the 
honor of Christ, or, if some will have it so, the young blood within 
me boiled; and yet I felt it did not behoove me to do anything 
in the matter except to draw the attention of some prelates to 
the abuses. Some acted upon the hint, but others derided it 
and interpreted it in various ways. For the dread of your Holi- 
ness's name and the threat of being placed under the ban were 
all-powerful. At length I thought it best not to be harsh, but 

230 The Beginning of the Reformation 

oppose them by throwing doubts upon their doctrines, prepara- 
tory to a disputation upon them. So I threw down the gauntlet 
to the learned by issuing my theses, and asking them to discuss 
them, either by word of mouth or in writing, which is a well- 
known fact. From this, most holy father, has such a fire been 
kindled that, to judge from the hue and cry, one would think 
the whole world had been set ablaze. 

And perhaps this is because I, through your Holiness's 
apostolic authority, am a doctor of theology, and they do not 
wish to admit that I am entitled, according to the usage of 
all universities in Christendom, openly to discuss, not only 
indulgences, but many higher doctrines, such as Divine Power, 
Forgiveness, and Mercy. . . . 

I made the theses public that I might have the protection 
of your Holiness's name, and find refuge beneath the shadow 
of your wings. So all may see from this how I esteem the 
spiritual power and honor the dignity of the keys. For, if I 
was such as they say, and had not held a public discussion on 
the subject, which every doctor is entitled to do, then assuredly 
his Serene Highness^ Frederick, elector of Saxony, who is 
an ardent lover of Christian and apostolic truth, would not 
have suffered such a dangerous person in his University of 

108. To Pope Leo X 2 

Necessity once more compels me, the most unworthy and 
despicable creature upon earth, to address your Holiness. 
Therefore, would you, in Christ's stead, graciously bend your 
fatherly ear to the petition of me, your poor sheep. The es- 
teemed Karl von Miltitz, your Holiness's treasurer, has been 
here and has complained bitterly to the elector Frederick of 
my insolence toward the Roman Church and your Holiness, 
and has demanded a recantation from me. 

When I heard this, I felt aggrieved that all my efforts to 
do honor to the Roman Church had been so misrepresented, 

1 Written from Wittenberg, May 30, 15 18. ^ Currie, Letters, No. xxxv. 

Letters by Martin Luther 231 

and considered foolhardiness and deliberate malice by the head 
of the Church. 

But what shall I do, most holy father? I am quite at sea, 
being unable to bear the weight of your Holiness's wrath or 
to escape from it. I am asked to recant and withdraw my theses. 
If by so doing I could accomplish the end desired, I would not 
hesitate a moment. 

But my writings have become far too widely known and 
have taken root in too many hearts — beyond my highest 
expectations — now -to be summarily withdrawn. Nay, our 
German nation, with its cultured and learned men, in the bloom 
of an intellectual reawakening, understands this question so 
thoroughly that, on this account, I must avoid even the 
appearance of recantation, much as I honor and esteem the 
Roman Church in other respects. For such a recantation 
would only bring it into still worse repute and make every one 
speak against it. 

It is those, O holy father, who have done the greatest injury 
to the Church in Germany, and whom I have striven to oppose 
— those who, by their foolish preaching and their insatiable 
greed, have brought your name into bad odor, sullying the 
sanctity of the sacred chair and making it an offense. It is 
those who, in revenge for my having rendered their godless en- 
deavors abortive, accuse me to your Holiness as the originator 
of their plots. Now, holy father, I declare before God that 
I have never had the slightest wish to attack the power of the 
Roman Church or your Holiness in any way, or even to injure 
it through cunning. Yes, I declare openly that there is noth- 
ing in heaven or on earth which can come before the power of 
this Church, except Jesus Christ alone — Lord over all. There- 
fore do not believe those malicious slanderers who speak other- 
wise of Luther. I also gladly promise to let the question of 
indulgences drop and be silent, if my opponents restrain their 
boastful, empty talk. In addition, I shall pubUsh a pamphlet 
exhorting the people to honor the Holy Church, and not ascribe 
such foolish misdeeds to her, or imitate my own severity, in 

232 The Beginning of the Reformation 

which I have gone too far toward her, and by so doing I trust 
these divisions may be healed. For this one thing I desired, 
that the Roman Church, our mother, should not be sulHed 
through the greed of strangers, nor the people led into error, 
being taught to regard love as of less importance than the indul- 
gences. All else, seeing it neither helps nor injures, I regard 
of less importance. 

If I can do anything more in the matter I am wilUng to do it.^ 

109. To the Emperor Charles V 2 

Doubtless every one marvels, most gracious emperor, that 
I presume to write to your Imperial Majesty. For what is so 
unusual as that the king of kings and lord of lords should be 
addressed by the meanest of men? But whoever can estimate 
the enormous importance of this subject, which so intimately 
concerns the divine verities, will not wonder. . . . 

Several small books I wrote drew down the envy and hatred 
of many great people, instead of their gratitude, which I merit. 
First, because against my will I had to come forward, although 
I had no desire to write anything, had not my opponents, through 
guile and force, compelled me to do so. For I wish I could have 
remained hidden in my corner. Second, as my conscience and 
many pious people can testify, I only brought forward the 
Gospel in opposition to the illusions or delusions of human tra- 
ditions. And for so doing, I have suffered for three years, 
without cessation, all the malice which my adversaries could 
heap upon me. It was of no avail that I begged for mercy 
and promised henceforth to be silent. No attention was paid 
to my efforts after peace, and my urgent request to be better 
instructed was not listened to. 

The one thing they insisted upon was that I should be ex- 
tinguished. . . . Hence, O lord, prince of the kings of the earth, 
I fall humbly at your Serene Majesty's feet, begging you will 
not take me, but the cause of divine truth (for which cause only 

» Written from Altenburg, March 3, 1519- ^ Currie, Letters, No. xl. 

Letters by Martin Luther 233 

God has put the sword into your hand), under the shadow of 
your wings, protecting me till I have either won or lost the case. 
Should I then be declared a heretic I ask for no protection, 
and only plead that neither the truth nor the lie be condemned 
unheard. For this is only due to your imperial throne. This 
will adorn your Majesty's empire! It will consecrate your 
century and cause its memory never to be forgotten, if your 
Sacred Majesty does not permit the wicked to swallow up him 
who is holier than they, nor let men, as the prophet says, "be- 
come as the fishes of the sea — as the creeping things that have 
no ruler over them." ^ 

110. To George Spalatin 2 

You ask what I shall do if the emperor demands my presence 
at Worms. ... If they use force toward me, which is probable, 
for they will not summon me in order to be enlightened, then 
the cause must be committed to God, who still reigns — to 
Him who upheld the three youths in the king of Babylon's 
fiery furnace. But if He will not dehver me, then my head is 
of no importance compared to the shameful death which was 
meted out to Christ. For, in a matter such as this, neither 
danger nor prosperity must be considered — for we must only 
see that the Gospel is not turned into ridicule by the godless 
through our conduct — or that our opponents should be able 
to boast that we had not the heart to confess, nor the courage 
to shed our blood, for the doctrines we taught. May the merci- 
ful Jesus guard us from such cowardice, and them from such 

We cannot tell whether our life or death may be most bene- 
ficial to the Gospel. You know that the truth of God is a rock 
of offense set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. We 
have only to pray God that Charles's reign may not be dese- 
crated through the shedding of my blood or that of anyone 
else. As I have often said, I would rather perish in papal hands 

1 Written from Wittenberg, January 15, 1520. 2 Currie, Letters, No. li. 

234 The Beginning of the Reformation 

than have him and his entangled in this matter. I know the 
misfortunes that befell the emperor Sigismund through Huss's 
murder. He never after had any good fortune — dying with- 
out children — and his name was blotted out, while his con- 
sort Barbara became a reproach among queens. But if it be 
decreed that I am to be delivered, not only to the high priests, 
but to the heathen, the will of the Lord be done. Amen. 

This is my opinion and counsel. You can fancy anything of 
me but flight or recantation. I shall not flee, and much less 
recant, if the Lord Jesus gives me the power thereto. For I 
could do neither without danger to holiness and the welfare of 
many souls.^ 

111. To George Spalatin 2 

We come, my dear Spalatin, although Satan has tried to 
prevent me through illness. For the whole way from Eisenach 
to Frankfort I have been very weak, and am still much weaker 
than I ever felt before. 

But I also perceive that the emperor Charles's mandate 
has been printed in order to fill me with fear. But Christ 
lives! We shall enter Worms in defiance of the gates of hell 
and all the powers of the air! 

When once there we shall see what is to be done, and Satan 
need not puff himself up, for we have every intention of fright- 
ening and despising him. So get a lodging ready for me.^ 

112. To Philip Melanchthon ^ 

And you, my Philip, what are you about meantime? Are 
you praying that my enforced seclusion may draw down some 
great thing to the glory of God, and therefore I wish to know if 
you approve of it. I feared it might look as if I was fleeing 
from the conflict, but I thought it best to give in to those who 
had arranged it thus. I long earnestly to encounter my enemies 
and vanquish them in the strife. 

1 Written from Wittenberg, December 21, 1520. 2 Currie, Letters, No. Ivi. 

^ Written from Frankfort, April 14, 1521. ^ Currie, Letters, No. lix. 

Letters by Martin Luther 235 

While sitting here, I ponder all day on the state of the churches 
as represented in the 88th Psalm. "Why hast Thou made all 
men in vain?" ... I lament my hard-heartedness, that I do 
not weep rivers over the destruction of the daughters of my 
people. Is there no one who will arise and plead with God, 
or become a wall for the defense of the house of Israel, in 
these last days of the wrath of God? Therefore be up and 
doing, ye servants of the Word, and build up the walls and 
towers of Jerusalem till they close round about you. You 
know your calHng and gifts. I pray earnestly for you, if my 
prayers may avail (which I hope they may). Do the same 
for me, and let us share this burden. 

We are still alone upon the field. When they are done with 
me, they will seek you. 

Spalatin writes that a terrible edict has been issued, making it 
a matter of conscience for every one to search out my writings 
and destroy them. . . . The emperor has also beeen instigated 
to write to the king of Denmark not to favor the Lutheran 
heresy, and my enemies now chant, "When will he be destroyed, 
and his name perish?" . . . But God lives and reigns to all 
eternity. Amen. God has visited me with great bodily 
suffering. I have not slept all night, and had no rest. Pray 
for me, as this evil will become unbearable if it goes on increas- 
ing as it has hitherto done.^ 

113. To His Father, Hans Luther 2 

It is almost sixteen years since I took the monk's vows 
without your knowledge or consent. You feared the weakness 
of my flesh, for I was a young fellow of twenty-two and full of 
fire, and you know the monkish life is fatal to many, and you 
were anxious to arrange a rich marriage for me. And for long 
this fear and anxiety made you deaf to those who begged you 
to be reconciled to me and to give God your dearest and best. 
But at last you gave way, although you did not lay aside your 

1 Written from the Wartburg, May 12, 1521. 2 Currie, Letters, No. kix. 

236 The Beginning of the Reformation 

care. I well remember telling you I was called through a 
terrible apparition from heaven, so that, when face to face with 
death, I made the vow, and you exclaimed, "God grant it was 
not an apparition of the Evil One that startled you." The 
words sank into my heart as if God had uttered them, but I 
hardened my heart against it till you exclaimed, "Hast thou 
never heard that one should obey his parents? " In spite of this 
most powerful word I ever heard out of a human mouth, I 
persevered in my own righteousness and despised you as being 
only a man. . . . 

Dear father, do you ask me to renounce monkish orders? 
God has been before you, and has brought me out Himself 
. . . and has placed me, as thou seest ... in the true divine 
worship, for no one can doubt that I serve God's Word. 
Parental authority must yield before this divine service; for, 
"whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy 
of me," says Christ. Not that parental authority ceases with 
this; but where Christ's authority clashes with that of a parent, 
the latter must give way. 

Therefore I send you this book, from which you will see how 
miraculously Christ has redeemed me from my monkish vows. 
He has endowed me with such freedom that, although I am the 
servant of all men, I am subject to Him alone. For He is my 
sole Bishop, Abbot, Prior, Lord, Father, Master! I know no 
other.^ . . . 

1 Written from Wittenberg, November 21, 1521. 



The Description of England, by William Harrison, is a 
most valuable survey, political, social, and religious, of 
Elizabethan England. The work, which was published 
in 1577, contains an extended account of the food, dress, 
houses, and furniture of the people, besides notices of 
laws and punishments, treatment of the poor, fairs and 
markets, churches, universities, the army and navy, 
and a great variety of other topics. Harrison was a 
learned, kind-hearted, truth-seeking man, not afraid to 
expose what he regarded as the shams and follies of his 
day, but a lover of his country and proud of the achieve- 
ments of Englishmen. He lived during a great age, 
and this is mirrored in the pages of his often amusing 
and always informing book. 

114. Food and Diet 2 

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of 
England (whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed 
Frenchmen and strangers) do most exceed, since there is no 
day that passeth over their heads wherein they have not only 
beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so 
many of these as the season yieldeth, but also some portion 
of the red or .fallow deer, besides great variety of fish, wild fowl, 
and sundry other delicacies. For a man to dine with one of 
them and to taste of every dish that standeth before him ... is 
rather to yield unto a conspiracy with a great deal of meat for 

1 William Harrison's Elizabethan England, edited by Lothrop Withington. 
London, 1889. Walter Scott Publishing Co. 

2 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 88-93. 

238 England in the Age of Elizabeth 

the speedy suppression of natural health than to satisfy him- 
self with a sufficient repast to sustain his body. But, as this 
large feeding is not seen in their guests, no more is it in their 
own persons; for, since they have daily much resort unto their 
tables (and many times unlooked for), and thereto retain great 
numbers of servants, it is very requisite and expedient for them 
to provide somewhat plentifully. . . . 

The gentlemen and merchants have much the same custom. 
Each of them contenteth himself with four, five, or six dishes, 
when they have but small resort, or perad venture with one, or 
two, or three at the most, when they have no strangers to ac- 
company them at their tables. ... To be short, at such times 
as the merchants make their ordinary or voluntary feasts, it 
is wonderful to see what provision is made of all manner of 
delicate meats, from every quarter of the country, wherein, 
beside that they are often comparable herein to the nobility 
of the land, they will seldom regard anything that the butcher 
usually killeth, but reject the same as not worthy to come in 
place. In such cases, also, jellies of all colors, tarts, preserves 
of old fruits, foreign and home-bred, marmalades, sugar- 
bread, gingerbread, wild fowls, venison of all sorts, and out- 
landish confections, altogether seasoned with sugar (a device 
not common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but only 
in medicine), do generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices 
of our own not possible for me to remember. Of the potato, 
and such roots as are brought out of Spain, Portugal, and the 
Indies to furnish up our banquets, I speak not. . . . 

But among all these, the kind of meat which is obtained with 
most difficulty and cost is commonly taken for the most delicate, 
and thereupon each guest will soonest desire to feed. 

115. Apparel and Attire ^ 

An Englishman, once endeavoring to write of our attire, 
made sundry platforms for his purpose, supposing by some of 
them to find out one steadfast ground whereon to build the 

1 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 107-1 10. 

Apparel and Attire 239 

sum of his discourse. But in the end (Hke an orator long without 
exercise), when he saw what a difficult piece of work he had taken 
in hand, he gave over his labor, and only drew the picture of a 
naked man, unto whom he gave a pair of shears in the one 
hand and a piece of cloth in the other, to the end he should 
shape his apparel after such fashion as himself liked, since he 
could find no kind of garment that could please him; and this 
he called an Englishman. Certainly this writer showed himself 
herein not to be altogether void of judgment, since the folly of 
our nation (even from the courtier to the carter) is such that 
no form of apparel pleaseth us longer than the first garment is 
in the wearing, if it continue so long. . . . 

Oh, how much cost is bestowed nowadays upon our bodies, 
and how little upon our souls! How many suits of apparel hath 
the one and how little furniture hath the other! How much 
time is spent in decking up the first, and how little space left 
wherein to feed the latter! How curious, how finical, also, are 
a number of men and women, arid how hardly can the tailor 
please them in making clothing fit for their bodies ! How many 
times must it be sent back again to him that made it! What 
chafing, what fretting, what reproachful language doth the 
poor workman bear away! And many times when he doeth 
nothing to it at all, yet when it is brought home again it is 
very fit and handsome; then must we put it on, then must the 
long seam.s of our hose be set by a plumb-line, then we puff, 
then we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our clothes 
may stand well upon us. I will say nothing of our hair, which 
sometimes is cut short, sometimes curled, sometimes allowed to 
grow in length like a woman's locks, and many times cut off, 
above or under the ears, round as by a wooden dish. Neither 
will I meddle with our variety of beards, of which some are 
shaven from the chin like those of Turks, not a few cut short, 
some made round like a rubbing brush, or now and then suf- 
fered to grow long, the barbers being grown to be so cunning in 
this behalf as the tailors. . . . Many old men do wear no beards 
at all. Some lusty courtiers also and gentlemen of courage 

240 England in the Age of Elizabeth 

do wear either rings of gold, stones, or pearl, in their ears, 
whereby they imagine the workmanship of God to be not a 
little improved. ... In women, also, it is most to be lamented, 
that they do now far exceed the lightness of our men (who never- 
theless are transformed from the cap even to the very shoe), 
and such staring attire as in time past was supposed proper 
for none but light housewives only is now became a habit for 
chaste and sober matrons. 

116. Houses and Fiimiture ^ 

The greatest part of our building in the cities and towns 
of England consisteth only of timber, for as yet few of the houses 
are made of stone, although they may be builded as cheaply of 
the one as of the other. ... In like sort as every country house 
is thus appareled on the outside, so is it inwardly divided into 
sundry rooms above and beneath; and, where plenty of wood 
is, they cover the roofs with tiles, otherwise with straw, sedge, 
or reed, unless some quarry of slate be near at hand. . . . The 
walls of our houses on the inner sides are either hung with 
tapestry, arras work, or painted cloths. . . or else they are 
ceiled with oak of our own, or wainscot brought hither out of 
the east countries, whereby the rooms are made warm and much 
more close than otherwise they would be. As for stoves, we 
have not hitherto used them greatly, yet do they now begin to 
appear in houses of the gentry and wealthy citizens. . . . 

Of old time, our country houses, instead of glass, did use 
much lattice, and that made either of wicker or fine rifts of oak 
in checkerwise. I read also that some of the better sort, in and 
before the times of the Saxons ... did make panels of horn in- 
stead of glass. But as horn in windows is now quite given up 
in every place, so our lattices are also grown into less use, 
because glass is come to be so plentiful. . . . 

The furniture of our houses also is grown in manner even to 
passing delicacy; and herein I do not speak of the nobility 
and gentry only, but likewise of the lowest sort in most places 

1 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 113-119. 

Houses and Furniture 241 

of our south country that have anything at all to take to. Cer- 
tainly in noblemen's houses it is not rare to see abundance of 
arras, rich hangings of tapestry, silver vessels, and so much 
other plate as may furnish sundry cupboards to the sum often- 
times of a thousand or two thousand pounds at the least, whereby 
the value of this and the rest of their stuff doth grow to be almost 
inestimable. Likewise in the houses of knights, gentlemen, 
merchants, and some other wealthy citizens, it is not unusual 
to behold their great provision of tapestry, Turkey work, 
pewter, brass, fine linen, and costly cupboards of plate, worth 
five or six hundred or a thousand pounds. . . . 

There are old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain 
who have noted three things to be marvelously altered in Eng- 
land within their remembrance. 

One is the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas 
in their young days there were not above two or three, if so 
many, in most towns of the realm. . . . Each one made his fire 
against a reredos in the hall, where he dined and dressed his 

The second is the great improvement of lodging; for, said 
they, our fathers, yea and we ourselves also, have lain full oft 
upon straw pallets, on rough mats covered only with a sheet, 
under coarse shaggy coverlets, and a good round log under 
their heads instead of a bolster or pillow. If it were so that 
the good man of the house had within seven years after his 
marriage purchased a mattress and thereto a stack of chaff 
to rest his head upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged 
as the lord of the town, that peradventure lay seldom in a bed 
of down or whole feathers. ... As for servants, if they had 
any sheet above them, it was well, for seldom had they any 
under their bodies to keep them from the pricking straws that 
ran oft through the canvas of the pallet and scratched their 
hardened hides. 

The third thing they tell of is the exchange of vessels, as of 
wooden platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver or 

242 England in the Age of Elizabeth 

117. Beggars 1 

It is not yet full threescore years since the trade of begging 
began, but how it hath prospered since that time it is easy to 
judge, for the beggars are now supposed, of one sex and another, 
to amount unto above io,ooo persons, as I have heard reported. 
Moreover, they have devised a language among themselves, 
which they name "Canting," but others, "peddler's French," a 
speech compact of EngUsh and a great number of odd words of 
their own devising, without any order or reason, and yet such is 
it as none but themselves are able to understand. The first 
deviser thereof w^as hanged by the neck — a just reward, no 
doubt, for his deserts, and a common end to all of that pro- 

The punishment that is ordained for this kind of people is 
very sharp, and yet it cannot restrain them from their gadding. 
. . . What notable robberies, pilferies, murders, and stealings 
of young children, burning, breaking, and disfiguring their 
Hmbs to make them pitiful in the sight of the people, I need 
not rehearse; but for their idle tramping about the country, 
the law ordaineth this manner of correction. The rogue being 
apprehended, committed to prison, and tried in the next assizes, 
if he happen to be convicted for a vagabond ... is then immedi- 
ately adjudged to be whipped and burned through the gristle 
of the right ear with a hot iron, as a manifestation of his wicked 
life, and due punishment received for the same. And this 
judgment is to be executed upon him, unless some honest per- 
son, worth five pounds in the queen's books in goods, or twenty 
shillings in land, or some rich householder will be bound in 
recognizance to retain him in his service for one whole year. 
If he be taken the second time, and proved to have forsaken 
his said service, he shall then be whipped again, bored likewise 
through the other ear, and set to service; from whence if he 
depart before a year be expired, and happen afterwards to be at- 
tached again, he is condemned to suffer pains of death as a felon. 

1 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 127-129. 

Robbers 243 

118. Robbers 1 

I might here speak of the excessive staves which many people 
who travel by the way do carry upon their shoulders, whereof 
some are twelve or thirteen feet long, beside the pike of twelve 
inches; but, as they are commonly suspected by honest men 
to be thieves and robbers, so by reason of this and the like 
suspicious weapons the honest traveler is now forced to ride 
with a case of pistols at his saddle-bow, or with some pretty 
short snapper, whereby he may deal with them further off in 
his own defense, before he come within reach of these weapons. 

No man traveleth by the way without his sword, or some such 
weapon, except the minister, who commonly weareth none at 
all, unless it be a dagger or hanger at his side. Seldom are they 
or any other wayfaring men robbed, without the consent of the 
chamberlain, tapster, or hostler where they bait and lie, who 
... see their store in drawing of their purses and give intima- 
tion to some one or other attendant daily in the yard or house, 
dwelling hard by, whether the prey be worth the following or 
no. If it be for their turn, then the gentleman peradventure is 
asked which way he traveleth, and whether it please him to 
have another guest to bear him company at supper, who rideth 
the same way in the morning that he doeth, or not. And thus 
if he admit him, or be glad of his acquaintance, the cheat is 
half wrought. And often it is seen that the new guest shall be 
robbed with the old, only to color out the matter and keep him 
from suspicion. Sometimes, when they know which way the 
passenger traveleth, they will either go before and lie in wait for 
him, or else come galloping apace after, whereby they will be 
sure, if he ride not the stronger, to be fingering with his purse. 
And these are some of the policies of such shrews or close-booted 
gentlemen as lie in wait for prizes by the highways, and which 
are most commonly practiced in the winter season, about the 
feast of Christmas, when serving-men and unthrifty gentlemen 
want money to play at the dice and cards, levv^dly spending in 

1 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 227-228. 

244 England in the Age of Elizabeth 

such wise whatsoever they have wickedly gotten, till some of 
them be hanged at Tyburn/ which happeneth unto them com- 
monly before they come to middle age. Whereby it appeareth 
that some sort of youth will oft have his swing, although it 
be in a halter. 

119. Punishments - 

In cases of felony, manslaughter, robbery, murder, piracy, 
and such capital crimes as are not reputed for treason or hurt 
of the estate, our sentence pronounced upon the offender is, to 
hang till he be dead. For of other punishments used in other 
countries we have no knowledge or use; and yet not so many 
grievous crimes are committed among us as elsewhere in the 
world. To use torment also or question by pain and torture 
in these common cases with us is greatly abhorred ... for our 
nation is free, stout, haughty, prodigal of life and blood, and 
therefore cannot in any wise endure to be used as villains and 
slaves, in suffering continually beating, servitude, and servile 
torments. No, our jailors are guilty of felony, by an old law 
of the land, if they torment any prisoner committed to their 
custody for the revealing of his accomplices. 

The greatest and most grievous punishment used in England 
for such as offend against the State is drawing from the prison 
to the place of execution upon an hurdle or sled, where they 
are hanged till they be half dead, and then taken down and 
quartered alive. . . . Sometimes, if the trespass be not the more 
heinous, they are suffered to hang tiU they be quite dead. 
We have use neither for the wheel nor for the bar, as in other 
countries, but, when willful manslaughter is perpetrated, besides 
hanging, the offender hath his right hand commonly stricken 
off before or near unto the place where the act was done, after 
which he is led forth to the place of execution and there put to 
death according to the law. . . . 

If a woman poison her husband, she is burned alive; if 
the servant kill his master, he is to be executed for petty trea- 

^ The place of execution in old London. 
2 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 237-245. 

The Universities 245 

son. . . . Perjury is punished by the pillory, burning in the 
forehead with the letter P, and loss of all the offender's movables. 
Many trespasses also are punished by the cutting off of one or 
both ears from the head of the culprit. Rogues are burned 
through the ears; carriers of sheep out of the land, by the loss 
of their hands; such as kill by poison are either boiled or scalded 
to death in lead or seething water. Heretics are burned quick. 
. . . Such as kill themselves are buried in the field with a stake 
driven through their bodies. Witches are hanged, or some- 
times burned. . . . Rogues and vagabonds are often stocked 
and whipped; scolds are ducked upon ducking-stools in the 
water. Such felons as stand mute, and speak not at their 
arraignment, are pressed to death by huge weights laid upon a 
board, that lieth over their breasts, and a sharp stone under their 
backs; and these commonly hold their peace, thereby to save 
their goods unto their wives and children, which, if they were 
condemned, would be confiscated. . . . Pirates are condemned 
in the court of the admiralty, and hanged on the shore at 
low-water mark, where they are left till three tides have over- 
washed them. Finally, those who have banks and walls near 
unto the sea, and do suffer the same to decay, whereby the 
water entereth and drowneth up the country, are by a certain 
ancient custom staked in the breach, where they remain for- 
ever as parcel of the foundation of the new wall that is to be 
made upon them. 

120. The Universities i 

Some greedy gripers do gape for the lands of our noble uni- 
versities, and of late have propounded sundry reasons whereby 
they supposed to have prevailed in their purposes. But who 
are those that have attempted this suit, other than such as 
either hate learning, piety, and wisdom, or else have spent all 
their own and know not otherwise than by encroaching upon 
other men how to maintain themselves? When such a motion 
was made by some unto King Henry the Eighth, he answered 
them in this manner: "Ah, sirra! I perceive the monastery 

1 Harrison, Elizabethan England, pp. 261-262. 

246 England in the Age of Elizabeth 

lands have fleshed you, and set your teeth on edge, to ask also 
those colleges. And, whereas we had a regard only to pull 
down sin by defacing the monasteries, you have a desire also 
to over throw all goodness, by subversion of colleges. I tell 
you, sirs, that I judge no land in England better bestowed than 
that which is given to our universities; for by their maintenance 
our realm shall be well governed when we be dead. As you 
love your welfares, therefore, follow no more this vein, but con- 
tent yourselves with that you have already, or else seek honest 
means whereby to increase your livelihoods; for I love not learn- 
ing so ill that I will impair the revenues of any one house by a 
penny, whereby it may be upholden." 

In King Edward the Sixth's days likewise the same suit was 
once again attempted, but in vain; for, saith the duke of 
Somerset, "If learning decay, which of wild men maketh civil; 
of blockish and rash persons, wise and goodly counselors; of 
obstinate rebels, obedient subjects; and of evil men, good and 
godly Christians; what shall we look for else but barbarism 
and tumult? When the lands of colleges have gone, it shall 
be hard to say whose staff shall stand next the door; for 
then I doubt not but the state of bishops, rich farmers, mer- 
chants, and the nobility, shall be assailed, by such as live to 
spend all, and think that whatsoever another man hath is 
more meet for them and to be at their commandment than for 
the proper owner that has sweat and labored for it." In 
Queen Mary's days the weather was too warm for any such 
course to be taken in hand; but in the time of our gracious 
Queen EUzabeth I hear that it was after a sort in talk the 
third time, but without success; and so I hope it shall continue 
forever. For what comfort should it be for any good man 
to see his country brought into the estate of the old Goths and 
Vandals, who made laws against learning and would not suffer 
any skillful man to come into their council house; by means 
whereof those people became savage tyrants and merciless 
hell-hounds, till they restored learning again and thereby fell 
to civility. 



The History of the Rebellion, by Edward Hyde, first 
earl of Clarendon (1609-1674), is one of the great works 
of English literature. The book was not published until 
after Clarendon's death, but large parts of it were com- 
posed between 1646 and 1648, when the events described 
remained fresh in the author's memory. Clarendon 
belonged to the Royalist party and took an active part 
in political and military affairs during the stirring age 
of the Puritan Revolution. He writes, therefore, as a 
contemporary, and with evident bias, for he wished to 
justify the course followed by Charles I and the Royalists. 
In spite of this fact, the impression made on the reader's 
mind is one of the author's sincerity and honest convic- 
tion. As a writer of EngHsh prose, Clarendon stands 
very high. His character sketches of Laud, Strafford, 
Hampden, Charles I, Cromwell, and others form a gallery 
of portraits perhaps unmatched elsewhere in English 
historical writing. 

121. Archbishop Laud 2 

It was within one week after the king's return from Scotland, 
that Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, died at his house at 
Lambeth. And the king took very little time to consider who 
should be his successor, but the next time the bishop of London 

1 The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, together with an His- 
torical View of the Affairs of Ireland, by Edward, Earl of Clarendon. 7 vols. Oxford, 
1859. University Press. 

^ Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 126-129. 

248 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

came to him, His Majesty greeted him very cheerfully with the 
words, "My lord's grace of Canterbury, you are very welcome," 
and gave orders the same day for the dispatch of all the neces- 
sary forms for the translation. Within a month or thereabouts 
after the death of the other archbishop, he was completely in- 
vested in that high dignity, and settled in his palace at Lambeth. 
This great prelate had been before in high favor with the duke 
of Buckingham, whose confidant he was, and by him recom- 
mended to the king, as fittest to be trusted in conferring all 
ecclesiastical preferments, when he was but bishop of St. David's, 
or newly preferred to Bath and Wells; and from that time he 
entirely governed that province without a rival, so that his 
promotion to Canterbury was long foreseen and expected; nor 
was it attended with any increase of envy or dislike. 

He was a man of great parts, and very exemplary virtues, 
allayed and discredited by some unpopular natural infirmities; 
the greatest of which was (besides a hasty, sharp way of express- 
ing himself) that he believed innocence of heart and integrity of 
manners formed a guard strong enough to secure any man in 
his voyage through this world, in what company soever he 
traveled and through what ways soever he was to pass; and 
surely never any man was better supplied with that provision. 

He was born of honest parents, who were well able to provide 
for his education in the schools of learning, whence they sent 
him to St. John's College in Oxford, the worst endowed at that 
time of any in that famous university. From a scholar he 
became a fellow, and then the president of that college, after 
he had received all the graces and degrees (the proctorship and 
the doctorship) which could be obtained there. He was "always 
maligned and persecuted by those who were of the Calvinistic 
faction, which was then very powerful, and who, according to 
their useful maxim and practice, call every man they do not 
love, papist. Under this senseless appellation they created 
for him many troubles and vexations; and so far suppressed 
him, that, though he was the king's chaplain, and taken notice 
of for an excellent preacher and a scholar of the most sublime 

Trial of the Earl of Strafford 249 

parts, he had not any preferment to invite him to leave his poor 
college, which only gave him bread, till the vigor of his age was 
past. When he was promoted by King James, it was but to a 
poor bishopric in Wales, which was not so good a support for 
a bishop, as his college was for a private scholar, though a doctor. 

Parliaments at that time were frequent, and grew very busy; 
and the party under which he had suffered a continual perse- 
cution appeared very powerful, and they who had the courage 
to oppose them began to be taken notice of with approbation 
and countenance. In this way he came to be first cherished 
by the duke of Buckingham, after the latter had made some 
experiments of the temper and spirit of the other people, not 
at all to his satisfaction. From this time he prospered at the 
rate of his own wishes, and being transplanted out of his cold 
barren diocese of St. David's, into a warmer climate, he was 
left, as was said before, by that omnipotent favorite in that 
great trust with the king, who was sufficiently indisposed toward 
the persons or the principles of Mr. Calvin's disciples. 

When he came into great authority, it may be that he retained 
too keen a memory of those who had so unjustly and unchari- 
tably persecuted him before; and, I doubt, was so far trans- 
ported with the same passions he had reason to complain of in 
his adversaries, that, as they accused him of popery, because 
he had some doctrinal opinions which they liked not, though 
they were in no way allied to popery; so he entertained too much 
prejudice to some persons, as if they were enemies to the dis- 
cipHne of the Church, because they concurred with Calvin in 
some doctrinal points. 

122. Trial of the Eari of Strafford 1 

All things being thus prepared and settled, on Monday, the 
twenty-second of March, 1641, the earl of Strafford was brought 
to the bar in Westminster Hall; the lords sitting in the middle 
of the hall in their robes; and the commoners, and some strangers 
of quahty, with the Scotch commissioners, and the committee 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 306-308. 

250 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

of Ireland, on either side. There was a close box made at one 
end, at a very convenient distance for hearing, in which the 
king and queen sat; His Majesty, out of kindness and curiosity, 
desiring to hear all that could be alleged. . . . 

After his charge was read, and an introduction made by Mr. 
Pym, in which he called him "the wicked earl," some member 
of the House of Commons, being a lawyer, applied and pressed 
the evidence, with great sharpness of language; and, when the 
earl had made his defense, replied with the same liberty to 
whatsoever he said; taking all occasions of bitterly inveigh- 
ing against his person. This reproachful way of acting was 
looked upon with so much approbation that one of the managers 
(Mr. Palmer) lost all his credit and interest with them, and never 
recovered it, for using a decency and modesty in his bearing 
and language toward him; though the weight of his arguments 
pressed more upon the earl than all the noise of the rest. 

The trial lasted eighteen days. All the hasty or proud ex- 
pressions he had uttered at any time since he was first made a 
privy councilor; all the acts of passion or power that he had 
exercised in Yorkshire, from the time that he was first presi- 
dent there; his engaging himself in projects in Ireland, ... his 
billeting of soldiers and exercising of martial law in that king- 
dom, . . . some casual and light discourses at his own table 
and at pubUc meetings; and lastly, some words spoken in secret 
council in this kingdom, after the dissolution of the last parlia- 
ment, were urged and pressed against him, to make good the 
general charge of "an endeavor to overthrow the fundamental 
government of the kingdom and to introduce an arbitrary 

The earl behaved himself with great show of humility and 
submission; but yet with such a kind of courage as would lose 
no advantage; and, in truth, made his defense with all imagin- 
able dexterity; answering this and evading that, with all pos- 
sible skill and eloquence. Though he knew not, till he came 
to the bar, upon what parts of his charge they would proceed 
against him, or what evidence they would produce, he took 

Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford 251 

very litde time to recollect himself and left nothing unsaid that 
might make for his own justification. 

123. Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford ^ 

The bill of attainder in few days passed the House of Com- 
mons; though some lawyers, of great and known learning, 
declared that there was no ground in law to judge him guilty 
of high treason. Lord Digby (who had been, from the begin- 
ning, of the committee for the prosecution, and had much more 
prejudice than kindness to the earl) in a speech declared that 
he could not give his consent to the bill; not only because he was 
unsatisfied in the matter of law, but also because he was more 
unsatisfied in the matter of fact; those words, upon which the 
impeachment was principally grounded, being so far from being 
proved by two witnesses, that he could not acknowledge it to 
be by one. . . . The bill passed with only fifty-nine dissenting 
votes, there being nearly two hundred in the House; and was 
immediately sent up to the Lords, with this addition, ''that 
the House of Commons would be ready the next day in West- 
minster Hall to give their lordships satisfaction in the matter 
of law, upon what had passed at the trial." 

The earl was then again brought to the bar; the lords sitting 
as before, in their robes; and the commoners as they had done; 
amongst them, Mr. St. John (whom his majesty had made his 
SoHcitor- General since the beginning of the parliament), argued 
for the space of nearly an hour the matter of law. Of the 
argument itself I shall say Uttle, it being in print and in many 
hands; I shall only mention two notable propositions, which are 
sufficient indications of the person and the time. Lest what had 
been said on the earl's behalf, in point of law and upon the 
want of proof, should have made any impression on their 
lordships, he averred that private satisfaction to each man's 
conscience was sufficient, although no evidence had been given 
in at all; and as to the pressing the law, he said, "It was true 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 325-327, 361-364. 

252 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

we give law to hares and deer, because they are beasts of chase; 
but it was never accounted either cruelty or foul play to knock 
foxes and wolves on the head as they are found, because they 
are beasts of prey." In a word, the law and the humanity were 
alike; the one being more fallacious, and the other more bar- 
barous, than in any age had been vented in such an audience 

The same day, as a better argument to the House of Lords 
speedily to pass the bill, the nine and fifty members of the 
House of Commons, who had dissented from that act, had their 
names written on pieces of parchment or paper, under this 
superscription, " Straff ordians, or enemies to their country;" 
and these papers were fixed upon posts and the most visible 
places about the city. This action was as great and destruc- 
tive a violation of the privileges and freedom of parliament 
as can be imagined: yet, being complained of in the House, 
not the least countenance was given to the complaint or the 
least care taken for the discovery of the guilty parties. 

During these perplexities the earl of Strafford, taking notice 
of the straits the king was in, the rage of the people still increas- 
ing (from whence he might expect a certain outrage and ruin, 
how constant soever the king continued to him) . . . wrote a 
most pathetic letter to the king, full of acknowledgement of 
his favors; but presenting "the dangers which threatened him- 
self and his posterity, by his obstinacy in those favors;" and 
therefore by many arguments imploring him "no longer to 
defer his assent to the bill, that so his death might free the king- 
dom from the many troubles it apprehended." 

The delivery of this letter being quickly known, new argu- 
ments were used to overcome the opposition of the king. He 
was told that this free consent of Strafford's clearly absolved 
him from any further scruples about the execution of the earl. 
In the end they extorted from him an order to some lords to 
pass the bill; which was as valid as if he had signed it himself; 
though they comforted him even with that circumstance, 
" that his own hand was not in it." . . . 

John Hampden 253 

All things being thus transacted, to conclude the fate of this 
great person, he was on the twelfth day of May brought from 
the Tower of London (where he had been a prisoner nearly 
six months) to the scaffold on Tower Hill. Here, with a com- 
posed, undaunted courage, he told the people that he had come 
thither to satisfy them with his head; but that he much feared 
the reformation which was begun in blood would not prove so 
fortunate to the kingdom as they expected and he wished. 
After great expressions of his devotion to the Church of Eng- 
land, and the Protestant religion estabhshed by law and pro- 
fessed in that Church; of his loyalty to the king, and affection 
for the peace and welfare of the kingdom, with marvelous tran- 
quillity of mind he delivered his head to the block, where it 
was severed from his body at a blow. Many of the bystanders 
who had not been over-charitable to him in his life, were much 
affected by the courage and Christianity of his death. 

124. John Hampden ^ 

He was a gentleman of a good family in Buckinghamshire, 
born to a fair fortune, and of a most civil and affable deport- 
ment. In his earlier years, he indulged himself in all the 
sports, exercises, and company which were used by men of 
the most jolly conversation. Afterwards he retired to a more 
reserved and melancholic society, yet preserving his own 
natural cheerfulness and vivacity, and above all a flowing cour- 
tesy to all men. . . . He was rather of reputation in his own 
county than of public discourse or fame in the kingdom before 
the business of ship-money; but then he grew the argument 
of all tongues, every man inquiring who and what he was, that 
durst, at his own charge, support the liberty and property of 
the kingdom and rescue his country from being made a prey to 
the court. His carriage, throughout that agitation, was with 
such rare temper and modesty, that they who watched him 
narrowly to find some advantage against his person, to make 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. iii, pp. 67-69. 

254 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

him less resolute in his cause, were compelled to give him a 
just testimony. 

The judgment that was given against him infinitely more 
advanced him than the service for which it was given. When 
this parliament began (being returned knight of the shire for 
the county where he lived), the eyes of all men were fixed on 
him as the pilot that must steer their vessel through the tem- 
pests and rocks which threatened it. And I am persuaded his 
power and interest, at that time, was greater to do good or 
hurt than any man's in the kingdom, or than any man of his 
rank has had in any time; for his reputation for honesty was 
universal, and his affections seemed so publicly guided that 
no corrupt or private ends could bias them. 

He was of that rare affability and temper in debate, and of 
that seeming humility and submission of judgment, as if he 
brought no opinions with him but a desire of information and 
instruction. Yet he had so subtle a way of interrogating, and 
under the notion of doubts insinuating his objections, that he 
left his opinions with those from whom he pretended to learn 
and receive them. And even with them who were able to pre- 
serve themselves from his influence, and discerned those opinions 
to be fixed in him with which they could not comply, he always 
left the character of an ingenuous and conscientious person. 
He was indeed a very wise man, and of great parts, and possessed 
with the most absolute faculties to govern the people, of any 
man I ever knew. 

125. Trial of King Charles 1 1 

When he was first brought to Westminster Hall, which was 
upon the twentieth of January, 1649, before the high court 
of justice, he looked upon them and sat down, without any 
manifestation of trouble, never doffing his hat. All the im- 
pudent judges sat covered and fixed their eyes upon him, with- 
out the least show of respect. The odious libel, which they 
called a charge and impeachment, was then read by the clerk, 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. v, pp. 532-537. 

Trial of King Charles I 255 

It asserted that he had been admitted king of England and 
trusted with a limited power to govern according to law; and 
by his oath and office was obliged to use the power committed 
to him for the good and benefit of the people; but that he had, 
out of a wicked design to erect to himself an unlimited and tyran- 
nical power and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the 
people, traitorously levied war against the present parliament 
and the people therein represented. ... It was also charged that 
he had been the author and contriver of the unnatural, cruel, 
and bloody war; and was therefore guilty of all the treasons, 
murders, rapines, burnings, spoils, desolations, damage, and 
mischief to the nation, which had been committed in the said 
war or been occasioned thereby. He was therefore impeached 
for the said treasons and crimes, on the behalf of the people of 
England, as a tyrant, traitor, and murderer, and a public, 
implacable enemy to the commonwealth of England. And 
it was prayed that he might be put to answer to all the partic- 
ulars, to the end that such an examination, trial, and judgment 
might be had thereupon as should be agreeable to justice. 

The impeachment having been read, their president, Brad- 
shaw, after he had insolently reprimanded the king for not 
having doffed his hat or showed more respect to that high tri- 
bunal, told him that the parliament of England had appointed 
that court to try him for the several treasons and misdemeanors 
which he had committed against the kingdom during the evil 
administration of his government, and that upon the examina- 
tion thereof justice might be done. And after a great sauci- 
ness and impudence of talk, he asked the king what answer 
he made to that impeachment. 

The king, without any alteration in his countenance by all 
that insolent provocation, told them he would first know of 
them by what authority they presumed by force to bring him 
before them, and who gave them power to judge of his actions, 
for which he was accountable to none but God; though they 
had always been such as he need not be ashamed to own before 
all the world. He told them that he was their king and they 

256 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

his subjects, who owed him duty and obedience; that no 
parHament had authority to call him before them; and that 
they were not even the parliament, and had no authority 
from the parliament to sit in that manner. . . . And after urg- 
ing their duty that was due to him, and his superiority over them 
by such lively reasons and arguments as were not capable of 
any answer, he concluded that he would not so much betray 
himself and his royal dignity as to answer anything they ob- 
jected against him, which would be to acknowledge their 
authority. . . . 

Bradshaw advised him in a very arrogant manner not to 
deceive himself with an opinion that anything he had said 
would do him any good; that the parliament knew their own 
authority and would not suffer it to be called in question and 
debated. Bradshaw therefore wished him to think better of 
it when he should be next brought thither and that he would 
answer directly to his charge; otherwise he could not be so 
ignorant as not to know what judgment the law pronounced 
against those who stood mute and obstinately refused to plead. 
And so the guard carried His Majesty back to St. James's, 
where they treated him as before. . . . 

As there were many persons present at that woeful spectacle 
who felt a real compassion for the king, so there were others 
of so barbarous and brutal a behavior toward him that they 
called him tyrant and murderer; and one spat in his face; 
which His Majesty without expressing any resentment wiped 
off with his handkerchief. . . . 

The several unheard-of insolences which this excellent prince 
was forced to submit to at the other times he was brought 
before that odious judicatory, his majestic behavior under so 
much insolence, and resolute insisting upon his own dignity, and 
defending it by manifest authorities in the law, as well as by 
the clearest deductions from reason, the pronouncing that horri- 
ble sentence upon the most innocent person in the world, the 
execution of that sentence by the most execrable murder that 
ever was committed since that of our blessed Savior, and the 

Oliver Cromwell 257 

circumstances thereof ... the saint-hke behavior of that blessed 
martyr, and his Christian courage and patience at his death, are 
all particulars so well known . . . that the farther mentioning 
them in this place would but afflict and grieve the reader, and 
make the relation itself odious; and therefore no more shall 
be said here of that lamentable tragedy, so much to the dis- 
honor of the nation and the religion professed by it. 

126. Oliver Cromwell 1 

He was one of those men whom his very enemies could not 
condemn without commending him at the same time: for he 
could never have done half that mischief without great courage 
and industry and judgment. And he must have had a wonder- 
ful understanding of the natures and passions of men, and as 
great a dexterity in the applying them, who, from a private 
and obscure birth (although of a good family), without interest 
of estate, alliance, or friendships, could raise himself to such 
a height. . . . Without doubt, no man with more wickedness 
ever attempted anything or brought to pass what he desired 
more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion and 
moral honesty; yet wickedness as great as his could never 
have accomplished these results without the assistance of a 
great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a 
most magnanimous resolution. When he appeared first in 
parliament, he seemed to have a person in no degree gracious, 
no ornament of discourse, none of those talents which recon- 
cile the affection of the bystanders; yet as he grew into place 
and authority, his powers seemed to be renewed, as if he had 
concealed faculties, till he had occasion to use them; and when 
he was to act the part of a great man, he did it without any 
awkwardness through the lack of experience. 

After he was confirmed and invested Protector, he consulted 
with very few upon any action of importance, nor communi- 
cated any enterprise he resolved upon with more than those who 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. vi, pp. 103-110. 

258 Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

were to have principal parts in the execution of it; nor to them 
sooner than was absolutely necessary. What he once resolved, 
in which he was not rash, he would not be dissuaded from, nor 
endure any contradiction of his power and authority, but ex- 
torted obedience from those who were not wilUng to yield it. . . . 

Thus he subdued a spirit that had been often troublesome 
to the most sovereign power, and made Westminster Hall obedient 
and subservient to his commands. In all other matters, which 
did not concern the life of his jurisdiction, he seemed to have 
great reverence for the law and rarely interposed between 
party and party. And as he proceeded with this kind of in- 
dignation and haughtiness with those who were refractory 
and dared to contend with his greatness, so toward those who 
complied with his good pleasure and courted his protection, 
he used a wonderful civility, generosity, and bounty. 

To reduce three nations,' which perfectly hated him, to an 
entire obedience to all his dictates; to awe and govern those 
nations by an army that was not devoted to him and wished his 
ruin, was an instance of a very prodigious genius. But his 
greatness at home was but a shadow of the glory he had abroad. 
It was hard to discover which feared him most, France, Spain, 
or the Low Countries, where his friendship was current at the 
value he put upon it. And as they did all sacrifice their honor 
and their interest to his pleasure, so there is nothing he could 
have demanded that they would have denied him. . . . 

He was not a man of blood, and totally declined Machiavelli's 
method,^ which prescribes, upon any alteration of a government, 
to cut off all the heads and extirpate the families of those 
who are friends to the old one. And it was confidently reported 
that in the council of officers it was more than once proposed 
that there might be a general massacre of all the royal party. 

1 England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

2 Machiavelli (1469-1527), an Italian diplomat, was the author of a famous 
book, // Principe {The Prince), which exercised much influence on European poUtics. 
It is an analysis of the methods whereby an ambitious and unscrupulous man may 
rise to sovereign power. 

Oliver Cromwell 259 

as the only expedient to secure the government; but Cromwell 
would never consent to it; it may be, out of too much contempt 
of his enemies. In a word, as he had all the wickednesses 
against which damnation is denounced, and for which hell fire 
is prepared, so he had some virtues which have caused the 
memory of some men in all ages to be celebrated; and he will 
be looked upon by posterity as a brave bad man. 



In 1845 the famous English writer, Thomas Carlyle, 
gave to the world the first collection ever made of Crom- 
well's letters and speeches. The work had an immediate 
success and within a few years totally changed the cur- 
rent estimate of Cromwell. Until it appeared, even his- 
torians favorable to the Puritan Revolution had been 
accustomed to represent Cromwell as a patriot in the 
first part of his career and a tyrant in the last part. But 
now no one could study the life of the great Protector, 
as given in his own words, without being convinced of 
his honesty and sincerity of purpose. By thus redeem- 
ing Cromwell's memory, by proving that he was ''not a 
man of falsehoods but a man of truths," Carlyle restored 
him to his proper place among English worthies. 

127. Battle of Marston Moor 2 

The Civil War between Charles I and parliament broke out in 1642. 
Fortune at first favored the Royalists, and it was not till Cromwell 
appeared as a military leader that the Puritans had any conspicuous suc- 
cess. At a critical moment in the battle of Marston Moor (1644) Crom- 
well hurled his "ironsides" against the Royalists under Prince Rupert 
and gained a decisive victory. All the north of England now fell into 
the hands of parliament and the Scots. Cromwell refers to the battle 
in a letter of condolence which he wrote to Colonel Walton, whose son 
had been killed. 

. . . Truly England and the Church of God hath had a great 
favor from the Lord, in this great victory given unto us, such 

1 The Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, edited bj^ Thomas Carlyle, revised 
by S. C. Lomas. 3 vols. London, 1904. Methuen and Co. 
^ Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 176-177. 

Battle of Naseby 261 

as the like never was since this war began. It had all the evi- 
dences of an absolute victory obtained by the Lord's blessing 
upon the godly party principally. We never charged but we 
routed the enemy. The left wing, which I commanded, being 
our own cavalry, except a few Scots in our rear, beat all the 
prince's cavalry. God made them as stubble to our swords. . . . 
The particulars I cannot relate now, but I beheve, of twenty 
thousand the prince hath not four thousand left. Give glory, 
all the glory, to God. 

Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon shot. 
It broke his leg. We were obliged to have it cut off, whereof 
he died. . . . He was a gallant young man, exceeding gracious. 
God give you His comfort. Before his death he was so full of 
comfort that to Frank Russel and myself he could not express 
it, it was so great above his pain. This he said to us. Indeed 
it was admirable. A little after, he said one thing lay upon his 
spirit. I asked him what that was. He told me that it was 
that God had not suffered him to be no more the executioner of 
His enemies. At his fall, his horse being killed with the bullet, 
and as I am informed three horses more, I am told he bid them 
open to the right and left, that he might see the rogues run. 
Truly he was exceedingly beloved in the army, of all that knew 
him. But few knew him, for he was a precious young man, 
fit for God. You have cause to bless the Lord. He is a glori- 
ous saint in Heaven, wherein you ought exceedingly to rejoice. 
Let this drink up your sorrow; seeing these are not feigned 
words to comfort you, but the thing is so real and undoubted a 
truth. You may do all things by the strength of Christ. Seek 
that, and you shall easily bear your trial. Let this public 
mercy to the Church of God make you to forget your private 
sorrow. The Lord be your strength. 

128. Battle of Naseby ^ 

At Naseby in 1645 a dashing charge by Cromwell's cavalry again 
turned threatened defeat into victory. The Royalists never recovered 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 204-205. 

262 Oliver Cromwell 

from the reverse which they experienced here, and within less than a 
year Charles I was a prisoner in the hands of the Scots. After the battle 
Cromwell wrote about it to the Speaker of the House of Commons. 

Being commanded by you to this service, I think myself 
bound to acquaint you with the good hand of God toward you 
and us. 

We marched yesterday after the king . . . and encamped 
about six miles from him. This day we marched toward him. 
He drew out to meet us; both armies engaged. We, after three 
hours' fight very doubtful, at last routed his army; killed 
and took about five thousand, very many officers, but of what 
quality we yet know not. We took also about two hundred 
carriages, all he had; and all his guns. . . . We pursued the enemy 
from three miles short of Harborough to nine beyond, even to 
the sight of Leicester, whither the king fled. 

Sir, this is none other but the hand of God; and to Him alone 
belongs the glory, wherein none are to share with Him. The 
general served you with all faithfulness and honor; and the 
best commendation I can give him is that I dare say he attri- 
butes all to God, and would rather perish than assume to him- 
self. . . . Honest men served you faithfully in this action. Sir, 
they are trusty; I beseech you in the name of God not to dis- 
courage them. I wish this action may beget thankfulness and 
humility in all that are concerned in it. He that ventures his 
life for the liberty of his country, I wish he may trust God for 
the liberty of his conscience, and you for the liberty he fights 

129. Storming of Drogheda ^ 

After the execution of Charles I in 1649 Roman Catholics in Ireland 
combined with Protestant Royalists in an attempt to overthrow the 
Commonwealth. Cromwell promptly invaded Ireland and spread fire 
and sword throughout the island. His treatment of the garrison of 
Drogheda has left a stain on his memory. 

Upon Tuesday the loth of September, about five o'clock 
in the evening, we began the storm,- and after some hot dis- 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 467-470. 

Storming of Drogheda 263 

pute we entered with about seven or eight hundred men, the 
enemy disputing it very stiffly with us. And indeed, through 
the advantages of the place, and the courage God was pleased 
to give the defenders, our men were forced to retreat quite out 
of the breach, not without some considerable loss. . . . 

Although our men that stormed the breaches were forced 
to recoil, as before is expressed, yet, being encouraged to recover 
their loss, they made a second attempt, wherein God was pleased 
so to animate them that they got ground of the enemy and 
forced him to quit his entrenchments. And after a very hot 
dispute, the enemy having both horse and foot, and we only 
foot, within the wall, they gave ground, and our men became 
masters both of their entrenchments and the church. . . . 

The enemy retreated, many of them, into the Mill-Mount: 
a place very strong and of difficult access, being exceedingly 
high and strongly palisaded. The governor, Sir Arthur Ashton, 
and other important officers being there, our men getting up to 
them, were ordered by me to put them all to the sword. And 
indeed, being in the heat of action, I forbade them to spare 
any that were in arms in the town. That night, I think, they 
put to the sword about two thousand men. Many officers and 
soldiers fled over the bridge into the other part of the town, 
where about one hundred of them possessed St. Peter's church- 
steeple, some the west gate, and others a strong round tower 
next the gate called St. Sunday's. These being summoned to 
yield to mercy, refused, whereupon I ordered the steeple of St. 
Peter's Church to be fired, where one of them was heard to say 
in the midst of the flames: "God condemn me, God confound 
me; I burn, I burn." 

The next day, the other two towers were summoned, in one 
of which were about six or seven score; but they refused to 
yield themselves, and we, knowing that hunger must compel 
them, set only good guards to secure them from running away 
until their stomachs were come down. From one of the said 
towers, notwithstanding their condition, they killed and wounded 
some of our men. When they submitted, their officers were 

264 Oliver Cromwell 

knocked on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers 
killed, and the rest shipped to the Barbadoes. The soldiers in 
the other tower were all spared and shipped likewise to the 

I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon 
these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so 
much innocent blood; and that it will tend to prevent the 
effusion of blood for the future, which are the satisfactory 
grounds for such actions, which otherwise cannot but work re- 
morse and regret. The officers and soldiers of this garrison 
were the flower of all their army, and their great expectation 
was that our attempting this place would put fair to ruin us, 
they being confident of the resolution of their men and the 
advantage of the place. 

130. Rejection of the Kingship 1 

In 1653 Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. The posi- 
tion carried with it royal duties and responsibilities, but Cromwell 
would not accept the title of king. On this point he expressed him- 
self to parliament as follows: 

I confess that this business hath put the House, the parlia- 
ment, to a great deal of trouble, and spent much time. I am 
very sorry for that. It hath cost me some time too, and some 
thoughts; and because I have been the unhappy occcasion of the 
expense of so much time, I shall spend httle of it now. 

I have, the best I can, revolved the whole business in my 
thoughts; and I have said so much already that I think I shall 
not need to repeat anything that I have said. I think it is an 
Act of Government ^ that, in the aims of it, seeks the settHng of 
the nation on a good foot, in relation to civil rights and liberties, 
which are the rights of the nation. And I hope I shall never 
be found to be one of them that go about to rob the nation of 
those rights — but always to serve them what I can to the 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. iii, pp. 126-129. 

2 This refers to certain amendments to the constitution, known as The Humble 
Petition and Advice, which parUament drew up for Cromwell's approval. 

Dissolution of the Second Parliament 265 

attaining of them. It is also exceeding well provided there 
for the safety and security of honest men in that great natural 
and rehgious liberty, which is liberty of conscience. These 
are the great fundamentals; and I must bear my testimony to 
them (as I have done, and shall do still, so long as God lets me 
live in this world). . . . 

I have only had the unhappiness, both in my conference 
with your committees, and in the best thoughts I could take 
to myself, not to be convinced of the necessity of that thing that 
hath been so often insisted on by you — to wit, the title of king 
— as in itself so necessary as it seems to be apprehended by 
yourselves. . . . 

But truly this is my answer, that, although I think the Act 
of Government doth Consist of very excellent parts, in all but 
in that one thing of the title, I should not be an honest man, if 
I should not tell you that I cannot accept of the government, 
nor undertake the trouble and charge of it — as to which I have 
a little more experimented than anybody else what troubles 
and difficulties do befall men under such trusts and in such 
undertakings. I say I am persuaded to return this answer 
to you, that I cannot undertake this government with the title 
of king. And that is mine answer to this great and weighty 

131. Dissolution of the Second Parliament ^ 

The second parliament of the Protectorate was dissolved by Crom- 
well in 1658. He announced this action in a speech of mingled sad- 
ness and irritation. 

I had very comfortable expectations that God would make 
the meeting of this parliament a blessing; and, the Lord be 
my witness, I desired the carrying-on the affairs of the nation 
to these ends. The blessing which I mean, and which we ever 
climbed at, was mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace — which 
I desire may be improved. 
. That which brought me into the capacity I now stand in 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. ill, pp. 187-192, 

266 Oliver Cromwell 

was the petition and advice given me by you; who, in reference 
to the ancient constitution did draw me to accept the place of 
Protector. There is not a man living who can say I sought it; 
no, not a man or woman treading upon English ground. ... I 
can say in the presence of God, in comparison of whom we are 
but like poor creeping ants upon the earth, I would have 
been glad to have lived under my woodside, to have kept a 
flock of sheep, rather than have undertaken such a place of 
government as this is. But undertaking it by the advice and 
petition of you, I did look that you that had offered it unto me 
should make it good. . . . 

God is my witness; I speak it; it is evident to all the world 
and people living that a new business hath been seeking in the 
army against this actual settlement made by your consent. . . . 
You have not only disjointed yourselves but the whole nation, 
which is in likelihood of running into more confusion in these 
fifteen or sixteen days that you have sat, than it hath been from 
the rising of the last session to this day. Through the intention 
of revising a Commonwealth again! That some of the people 
might be the men that might rule all ! And they are endeavoring 
to engage the army to carry that thing. . . . These designs 
have been made among the army, to break and divide us. I 
speak this in the presence of some of the army: that these things 
have not been according to God, nor according to truth, pre- 
tend what you will! These things tend to nothing else but the 
playing of the king of Scots' game; and I think myself bound 
before God to do what I can to prevent it. 

That which I told you ten days ago was true, that there were 
preparations of force to invade us. God is my witness, it hath 
been confirmed to me since, within a day, that the king of Scots 
hath an army at the water side, ready to be shipped to England. 
I have it from those who have been eyewitnesses of it. And 
while it is- doing, there are endeavors from some who are not far 
from this place, to stir up the people of this town into a tumult, 
what if I said, into a rebeUion! And I hope I shall make it 
appear to be no better, if God assist me. 

Crom well's Prayer 267 

It hath been not only your endeavor to pervert the army 
while you have been sitting, and to draw them to state the 
question about a Commonwealth; but some of you have been 
listing of persons, by commission of Charles Stuart, to join 
with any insurrection that may be made. And what is like 
to come upon this, the enemy being ready to invade us, but even 
present blood and confusion? And if this be so, I do assign 
it to this cause: Your not assenting to what you did invite me 
to by the Petition and Advice, as that which might be the settle- 
ment of the nation. And if this be the end of your sitting, and 
this be your carriage, I think it high time that an end be put to 
your sitting. And I do dissolve this parliament! And let 
God be judge between you and me! 

132. Cromwell's Prayer 1 

As Cromwell lay on his death bed (1658), he was heard to utter the 
following prayer. It seems to have expressed the man's inmost soul. 

Lord, though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I 
am in covenant with Thee through grace. And I may, I will, 
come to Thee, for Thy people. Thou hast made me, though 
very unworthy, a mean instrument to do them some good, and 
Thee service; and many of them have set too high a value upon 
me, though others wish and would be glad of my death; Lord, 
however Thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good 
for them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and 
mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of 
reformation; and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. 
Teach those who look too much on Thy instruments, to depend 
more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the 
dust of a poor worm, for they are Thy people too. And pardon 
the folly of this short prayer — Even for Jesus Christ's sake. 
And give us a good night, if it be Thy pleasure. Amen. 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. iii, p. 217. 



Samuel Pepys (i 633-1 703), whose Diary is one of the 
most fascinating books ever written, held an important 
position in the navy ofhce at London. The Diary covers 
the period 1 660-1 669, the first ten years of the reign of 
Charles 11. It was written in shorthand, quite without 
any thought of publication, and, indeed, was only de- 
ciphered and printed more than one hundred years after 
Pepys's death. He jotted down in this unique journal 
matters of every sort: his domestic affairs, his visits, 
the people he met, the books he read, and all his thoughts 
and feeUngs. Pepys's connection with the British govern- 
ment brought him in contact with the leading men of the 
time and enabled him to be a spectator of many important 
events. Hence the Diary, apart from its personal interest, 
is a historical document of the highest significance. 

133. Arrival of Charles II in England 2 

May 23, 1660. In the morning came infinity of people on 
board from the king to go along with him. My Lord, Mr. 
Crew, and others, go on shore to meet the king as he comes off 
from shore, where Sir R. Stayner bringing his Majesty into the 
boat, I hear that his Majesty did with a great deal of affection 
kiss my Lord upon his first meeting. The king, with the two 
dukes, the queen of Bohemia, Princess Royal, and prince of 

1 The Diary of Samuel Pepys, edited by H. B. Wheatley. lo vols. London, 
1893-1899. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Pepys, Diary, vol. i, pp. 155-158, 161-162. 

Arrival of Charies II in England 269 

Orange, came on board, where I in their coming in kissed the 
king's, queen's, and princess's hands. Infinite shooting off of 
the guns, and that in a disorder on purpose, which was better 
than if it had been otherwise. All day nothing but lords and 
persons of honor on board, that we were exceeding full. Dined 
in a great deal of state, the royal company by themselves in 
the coach, which was a blessed sight to see. . . . We now weighed 
anchor, and with a fresh gale and most happy weather we set 
sail for England. 

All the afternoon the king walked here and there, up and 
down (quite contrary to what I thought him to have been), 
very active and stirring. Upon the quarterdeck he fell into 
discourse of his escape from Worcester,^ where it made me ready 
to weep to hear the stories that he told of his difficulties that he 
had passed through, as his traveling four days and three nights 
on foot, every step up to his knees in dirt, with nothing but a 
green coat and a pair of country breeches on, and a pair of coun- 
try shoes that made him so sore all over his feet, that he could 
scarcely stir. Yet he was forced to run away from a miller 
and other company, that took him for a rogue. His sitting 
at table at one place, where the master of the house, that had 
not seen him in eight years, did know him, but kept it private; 
when at the same table there was one that had been of his own 
regiment at Worcester, did not know him, but made him drink 
the king's health and said that the king was at least four fingers 
higher than he. At another place he was by some servants of 
the house made to drink, that they might know him not to 
be a Roundhead, which they swore he was. In another place 
at his inn, the master of the house, as the king was standing with 
his hands upon the back of a chair by the fireside, kneeled down 
and kissed his hand, privately, saying that he would not ask 
him who he was, but bid God bless him whither he was going. 
Then the difficulty of getting a boat to get into France, where 
he was fain to plot with the master thereof to keep his design 
from the four men and a boy (which was all his ship's company), 
^ The battle of Worcester, won by Cromwell in 1651. 

270 Life and Manners under the Restoration 

and so got to Fecamp in France. At Rouen he looked so poorly, 
that the people went into the rooms before he went away to see 
whether he had not stole something or other. 

May 25, 1660. By the morning we were come close to the 
land, and everybody made ready to get on shore. . . . The king 
was received by General Monk with all imaginable love and re- 
spect at his entrance upon the land of Dover. Infinite the 
crowd of people and the horsemen, citizens, and noblemen of 
all sorts. The mayor of the town came and gave him his white 
staff, the badge of his place, which the king did give him again. 
The mayor also presented him from the town a very rich Bible, 
which he took and said it was the thing that he loved above all 
things in the world. A canopy was provided for him to stand 
under, which he did, and talked awhile with General Monk and 
others, and so into a stately coach there set for him, and so 
away through the town toward Canterbury, without making 
any stay at Dover. The shouting and joy expressed by all 
is past imagination. 

134. Trial and Execution of the Regicides ^ 

Oct. 10, 1660. At night comes Mr. Moore, and stayed late 
with me to tell me how Sir Hardress Waller ^ (who alone pleads 
guilty), Scott,^ Cook,"^ Peters,^ Harrison,*^ and others were this 
day arraigned at the bar at the Sessions House, there being upon 
the bench the Lord Mayor, General Monk, Lord Sandwich, 
and others; such a bench of noblemen as had not been ever 
seen in England! The accused all seem to be dismayed, and 
will all be condemned without question. In Sir Orlando Bridg- 
man's charge, he did wholly rip up the unjustness of the war 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. i, pp. 258-259, 260, 261, 264. 

2 One of Charles I's judges. His sentence was commuted to imprisonment for 

3 The regicide Secretary of State. 

4 Solicitor-General for the Commonwealth. He directed the prosecution of 
Charles I. 

6 Cromwell's chaplain. 

^ General Thomas Harrison signed the warrant for the execution of the king. 

Coronation of Charles II 271 

against the king from the beginning, and so it much reflects 
upon all the Long Parliament, though the king had pardoned 
them, yet they must hereby confess that the king do look upon 
them as traitors. To-morrow they are to plead what they have 
to say. 

Oct. 13, 1660.. I went out to Charing Cross, to see General 
Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, 
he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. 
He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to 
the people, at which there were great shouts of joy. It is 
reported that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the 
right hand of Christ to judge them that now had judged him; and 
that his wife expects his coming again. Thus it was my chance 
to see the king beheaded at Whitehall, and to see the first blood 
shed in revenge for the blood of the king at Charing Cross. 

Oct. 15, 1660. This morning Mr. Carew ^ was hanged and 
quartered at Charing Cross; but his quarters, by a great favor, 
are not to be hung up. 

Oct. 20, 1660. This afternoon, going through London, and 
calling at Crowe's the upholsterer's in St. Bartholomew's, I saw 
the limbs of some of our new traitors set upon Aldersgate, which 
was a sad sight to see; and a bloody week this and the last have 
been, there being ten hanged, drawn, and quartered. 

135. Coronation of Charles II 2 

April 23, 1661. About four o'clock I rose and went to 
Westminster Abbey. . . . And with much ado, by the favor of 
Mr. Cooper, his man, did get up into a great scaffold across 
the north end of the abbey, where with a great deal of patience 
I sat from past four o'clock till eleven o'clock before the king 
came in. And a great pleasure it was to see the abbey raised in 
the middle, all covered with red and a throne, (that is, a chair) ^ 

1 John Carew also signed the warrant for the execution of Charles I. 

2 Pepys, Diary, vol. ii, pp. 19-21. 

3 The coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Beneath the seat is the "Stone 
of Destiny," which Edward I carried ofiE from Scone in Scotland in i2q6. 

272 Life and Manners under the Restoration 

and foot-stool on the top of it; and all the officers of all kinds, 
so much as the very fiddlers, in red vests. At last came in 
the dean and prebends of Westminster, with the bishops (many 
of them in cloth-of-gold copes), and after them the nobihty, 
all in their parliament robes, which was a most magnificent 
sight. Then the duke and the king with a scepter (carried by 
my Lord Sandwich) and sword and orb before him, and the 
crown too. The king in his robes, bare-headed, which was 
very fine. And after all had placed themselves, there was a 
sermon and the service; and then in the choir at the high altar, 
the king passed through all the ceremonies of the coronation, 
which to my great grief I and most in the abbey could not see. 
The crown being put upon his head, a great shout began, and 
he came forth to the throne, and there passed more ceremonies: 
as taking the oath, and having things read to him by the bishop, 
and his lords (who put on their caps as soon as the king put on 
his crown) and bishops came and kneeled before him. And 
three times the Garter King of Arms went to the three open 
places on the scaffold, and proclaimed that, if anyone could 
show any reason why Charles Stuart should not be king of 
England, he should now come and speak. And a general pardon 
also was read by the Lord Chancellor, and silver medals were 
flung up and down by my Lord Cornwallis, but I could not 
obtain any. So great was the noise that I could make but 
little of the music; and indeed, it was lost to everybody. 

136. The Great Plague in London ^ 

Aug. 31, 1665. This month ends with great sadness upon the 
public, because of the terrible plague which rages almost every- 
where in the kingdom. Every day sadder and sadder news of 
its increase. In the City^ died this week 7,496, and of them 
6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of 
the dead this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. v, pp. 62, 86. 

^ The City, the London of tradition and history, occupies little more than 
one square mile. It is now a very small part of the metropolis. 

The Great Fire in London 273 

cannot be taken notice of, through the greatness of the num- 
ber, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have 
any bell ring for them. 

Sept. 20, 1665. What a sad time it is to see no boats upon 
the Thames; and grass grows all up and down Whitehall court, 
and nobody but poor wretches in the streets! And, what is 
worst of all, the duke showed us the number of those who have 
died from the plague this week, brought in the last night from 
the Lord Mayor; that it is increased about 600 more than the 
last, which is quite contrary to all our hopes and expectations, 
from the coldness of the late season. For the whole general 
number is 8,297, and of them the plague has caused the death 
of 7,165. 

137. The Great Fire in London ^ 

Sept. 2, 1666. Jane called us up about three in the morn- 
ing, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose 
and went to her window, and thought it to be in the rear of 
Mark Lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as 
followed, I thought it far enough off; and so went to bed again 
and to sleep. About seven rose again to dress myself, and 
then looked out the window, and saw the fire not so much as 
it was and farther off. . . . By and by Jane comes and tells me 
that she hears that above three hundred houses have been 
burned down last night by the fire we saw, and that it is now 
burning down all Fish Street, by London Bridge. So I made 
myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower, and there 
got up upon one of the high places . . . and there I did see the 
houses at that end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite 
great fire at this end of the bridge. ... So down, with my 
heart full of trouble, to the lieutenant of the Tower, who tells 
me that the fire began this morning in the king's baker's 
house in Pudding Lane, and that it has burned St. Mag- 
nus's Church and most of Fish Street already. So I went 
down to the waterside, and there got a boat and there saw a 
lamentable fire. . . . 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. v, pp. 417-421. 

2 74 Life and Manners under the Restoration 

Every one was endeavoring to remove his goods, flinging 
them into the river or bringing them into Hghters that lay off. 
Poor people stayed in their houses until the very fire touched 
them and would then run into boats, or would clamber from 
one pair of stairs by the waterside to another. Among other 
things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their 
houses, but hovered about the windows and balconies till 
some of them burned their wings and fell down. Having 
in an hour's time seen the fire rage every way, and nobody 
endeavoring to quench it, but endeavoring, instead, to remove 
their goods and leave all to the fire, and having seen it get as 
far as the Steelyard, and the wind mighty high and driving it 
into the City; and everything, after so long a drought, proving 
combustible, even the very stones of churches ... I went to 
Whitehall, and there up to the king's closet in the chapel, where 
people came about me, and I did give them an account which 
dismayed them all, and word was carried in to the king. 

So I was called for, and did tell the king and duke of York what 
I saw, and that unless his Majesty did command houses to be 
pulled down nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much 
troubled, and the king commanded me to go to the Lord Mayor 
from him, and command him to spare no house, but to pull 
down everything before the fire. The duke of York bid me 
tell him that if he would have any more soldiers he shall; and 
so did my Lord Arlington afterwards as a great secret. ... I 
went to St. Paul's and there walked along WatUng Street, as 
well as I could, every creature coming away loaded with goods 
to save, and here and there sick people carried away in beds. 
Many fine objects were carried in carts and on backs. At last 
met my Lord Mayor in Canning Street, like a man spent, with 
a handkerchief about his neck. To the king's message he cried, 
like a fainting woman, "Lord! what can I do? I am exhausted; 
people will not obey me. I have . been pulling down houses, 
but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it." That he 
needed no more soldiers; and that, for himself, he must go 
and refresh himself, having been up all night. So he left me. 

The Great Fire in London 275 

and I him, and walked home, seeing people all almost distracted, 
and no manner of means used to quench the fire. The houses, 
too, so very thick thereabouts, and full of matter for burning, 
as pitch and tar, in Thames Street, and warehouses of oil, and 
wines, and brandy, and other things. . . . 

Having seen as much as I could now, I went away to White- 
hall by appointment, and there walked to St. James's Park, 
and there met my wife and walked to my boat; and there 
upon the water again, and to the fire up and down, it still 
increasing, and the wind great. We got as near the fire as we 
could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one's face in 
the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of sparks. 
This is very true; for houses were burned by these sparks and 
flakes of fire, three or four, nay, five or six houses, one from 
another. When we could endure no more upon the water, we 
went to a httle ale-house on the bankside, over against the 
Three Cranes, and there stayed till it was almost dark, and 
saw the fire grow; and, as night came on, the fire appeared 
more and more, in corners and upon steeples, and between 
churches and houses, as far as we could see up the hill of the 
City, in a most horrid, malicious, bloody flame, not like the fine 
flame of an ordinary fire. We stayed till, it being darkish, we 
saw the conflagration as one entire arch of fire from this to the 
other side of the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch 
of above a mile long: it made me weep to see it. The churches 
and houses were aU on fire and flaming at once; and a horrid 
noise the flames made, and the cracking of houses at their 
ruin. So home with a sad heart. 



The Due de Saint-Simon (1675-1755) was the son of a 
duke and peer of France. As a young man he entered 
the army and served as an officer in more than one cam- 
paign. But he passed most of his active career as a courtier 
and diplomat during the last twenty years of the reign 
of Louis XIV, and then during the eight years of the 
Orleans regency. His position gave him an excellent 
opportunity to observe at first hand the pomps and vani- 
ties, the ceremonies, intrigues, petty tragedies, and petty 
comedies of what was the most splendid of European 
courts. Everything he saw or learned at this time he 
set down in his Memoirs. For sprightliness of style, 
satirical power, and abiHty to delineate character the 
work is almost unique. It occupies a very high place 
in French Hterature. Saint-Simon, in writing his remi- 
niscences, addressed posterity rather than his own age. 
The work was not published until many years after his 
death, and it was not till 1829 that anything like a com- 
plete edition of it appeared in print. Although Saint- 
Simon revealed in his Memoirs the almost incredible 
pettiness, extravagance, and immorality of the court, he 
did not do so as a reformer or revolutionist. No man 
was more an aristocrat than he. His life, however, had 
been embittered by royal disfavor and by the success of 
men whom he regarded as vulgar adventurers. Saint- 

1 The Memoirs oj the Duke of Saint-Simon on the Reign of Louis XIV and the 
Regency, translated by Bayle St. John. London, 1883. 3 vols. . Bickers and Son. 

Louis XIV 277 

Simon satirized them all in the secret pages of the Memoirs 
and did not spare even the "Grand Monarch" himself. 

X38. Louis XIV 1 

Louis XIV was made for a brilliant court. In the midst 
of other men his figure, his courage, his grace, his beauty, his 
grand bearing, even the tone of his voice and the majestic and 
natural charm of all his person, distinguished him till his death, 
and showed that if he had only been born a simple private gentle- 
man, he would equally have excelled in fetes, pleasures, and 
gahantry. . . . 

But Louis XIV reigned in little things; the great he could 
never reach; even in the former, too, he was often governed. 
The superior ability of his early ministers and his early generals 
soon wearied him. He hked nobody to be in any way superior 
to him. Thus he chose his ministers, not for their knowledge, 
but for their ignorance; not for their capacity, but for their 
want of it. He Hked to form them, as he said; liked to teach 
them even the most trifling things. It was the same with his 
generals. He took credit to himself for instructing them; 
wished it to be thought that from his cabinet he commanded 
and directed all his armies. Naturally fond of trifles, he 
unceasingly occupied himself with the most petty details of his 
troops, his household, his mansions; would even instruct his 
cooks, who received, like novices, lessons they had known by 
heart for years. This vanity, this unmeasured and unreason- 
able love of admiration, was his ruin. His ministers, his generals, 
his courtiers, soon perceived his weakness. They praised him 
with emulation and spoiled him. 

He was exceedingly jealous of the attention paid him. Not 
only did he notice the presence of the most distinguished cour- 
tiers, but those of inferior degree also. He looked to the right 
and to the left, not only upon rising but upon going to bed, at 
his meals, in passing through his apartments, or his gardens of 
Versailles, where alone the courtiers were allowed to follow 

1 Saint-Simon, Memoires, vol. ii, pp. 357-358, 364-368. 

278 Louis XIV and his Court 

him; he saw and noticed everybody; not one escaped him, 
not even those who hoped to remain unnoticed. He marked 
well all absentees from the court, found out the reason of their 
absence, and never lost an opportunity of acting toward them 
as the occasion might seem to justify. With some of the 
courtiers (the most distinguished), it was a demerit not to make 
the court their ordinary abode; with others it was a fault to 
come but rarely; for those who never or scarcely ever came 
it was certain disgrace. When their names were in any way 
mentioned, "I do not know them," the king would reply 
haughtily. . . . 

Louis XIV took great pains to be well informed of all that 
passed everywhere; in the public places, in the private houses, 
in society and familar intercourse. His spies and tell-tales 
were very numerous. He had them of all kinds: many who 
were ignorant that their information reached him; others who 
knew it; others who wrote to him direct, sending their letters 
through channels he indicated; and all these letters were seen 
by him alone, and always before everything else. There were 
other spies who sometimes spoke to him secretly in his cabinet, 
entering by the back stairs. These unknown means ruined 
a great number of people of all classes, who never could discover 
the cause; often ruined them very unjustly; for the king, 
once prejudiced, never altered his opinion, or so rarely that 
nothing was more rare. He had, too, another fault, very 
dangerous for others and often for himself, since it deprived 
him of good subjects. He had an excellent memory; and if 
he saw a man who, twenty years before, perhaps, had in some 
manner offended him, he did not forget the man, though he 
might forget the offense. This was enough, however, to exclude 
the person from all favor. The entreaties of a minister, of a 
general, of his confessor even, could not move the king. He 
would not yield. 

The most cruel means by which the king was informed of 
what was passing — ^^for many years before anybody knew it 
— was that of opening letters. The promptness and dexterity 

Louis XIV 279 

with which they were opened passes understanding. He saw 
extracts from all the letters in which there were passages that 
the chiefs of the post ofhce, and then the minister who governed 
it, thought ought to go before him; entire letters, too, were 
sent to him, when their contents seemed to justify the sending. 
Thus the chiefs of the post, nay, the principal clerks, were in a 
position to suppose what they pleased and against whom they 
pleased. A word of contempt against the king or the govern- 
ment, a joke, a detached phrase, was enough. It is incredible 
how many people, justly or unjustly, were more or less ruined, 
always without resource, without trial, and without knowing 
why. The secret was impenetrable; for nothing ever cost 
the king less than profound silence and dissimulation. . . . 

Never did man give with better grace than Louis XIV, or 
augmented so much, in this way, the price of his benefits. 
Never did man sell to better profit his words, even his smiles, 
nay, his looks. Never did disobliging words escape him; and, 
if he had to blame, to reprimand, or correct, which was very 
rare, it was nearly always with mildness, never with anger 
or severity. Never was man so naturally polite, or of a polite- 
ness so measured, so graduated, so adapted to person, time, 
and place. Toward women his politeness was without parallel. 
Never did he pass the humblest petticoat without raising his hat; 
even to chambermaids that he knew to be such, as often hap- 
pened at Marly. For ladies he took his hat off completely, but 
to a greater or less extent; for titled people half off, holding it 
in his hand or against his ear for a moment. For the nobility 
he contented himself by putting his hand to his hat. He took 
it off for the princes of the blood, as for the ladies. If he accosted 
ladies, he did not cover himself until he had quitted them. All 
this was out of doors, for in the house he was never covered. 
His reverences were incomparable for their grace and manner; 
even his mode of half raising himself at supper for each lady 
who arrived at table. Though at last this fatigued him, yet 
he never ceased it; the ladies who were to sit down, however, 
took care not to enter after supper had commenced. 

28o Louis XIV and his Court 

139. Versailles and Marly ^ 

Nobody ever approached the magnificence of the king. His 
buildings, who could number them? At the same time, who 
was there who did not deplore the pride, the caprice, the bad 
taste seen in them? He built nothing useful or ornamental in 
Paris, except the Pont Royal, and that simply by necessity; so 
that, despite its incomparable extent, Paris is inferior to many 
cities of Europe. St.-Germain, a lovely spot, with a marvelous 
view, rich forest, terraces, gardens, and water, he abandoned 
for Versailles; the dullest and most ungrateful of all places, 
without prospect, without wood, without water, without soil; 
for the ground is all shifting sand or swamp, and the air is 
accordingly bad. 

But he liked to subjugate nature by art and treasure. He 
built at Versailles, without any general design, the beautiful 
and the ugly, the vast and the mean, all jumbled together. 
His own apartments and those of the queen are inconvenient 
to the last degree, besides being dull and close. The gardens 
astonish by their magnificence, but cause regret by their bad 
taste. . . . The violence everywhere done to nature repels and 
wearies us despite ourselves. ... I might never finish upon the 
monstrous defects of a palace so immense and so immensely 
costly, with its accompaniments, which are still more so. 

At last, the king, tired of the cost and bustle, persuaded 
himself that he should like something little and soUtary. He 
searched all around Versailles for some place to satisfy this new 
taste. He examined several neighborhoods, he traversed the 
hills near St.-Germain, and the vast plain which is at the bottom, 
where the Seine winds and bathes the feet of so many towns. . . . 
He found behind Lucienne a deep narrow valley, completely 
shut in, inaccessible from its swamps, and with a wretched vil- 
lage called Marly upon the slope of one of its hills. This close- 
ness, without drainage or the means of having any, was the sole 
merit of the valley. The king was overjoyed at his discovery. 

1 Saint-Simon, Memoires, vol. ii, pp. 369-371. 

Court Life 281 

It was a great work, that of draining this sewer of all the envi- 
rons, which threw there their garbage, and of bringing soil 
thither! The hermitage was made. . . . 

By degrees the hermitage was augmented, and the hills were 
pared and cut down, to give at least the semblance of a pros- 
pect. In fine, what with buildings, gardens, waters, aqueducts, 
statues, precious furniture, the park, the ornamental inclosed 
forest. Marly had become what it is to-day, though it has 
been stripped since the death of the king. Great trees were 
unceasingly brought from Compiegne or farther, three-fourths of 
which died and were immediately after replaced; vast spaces 
covered with thick wood, or obscure alleys, were suddenly 
transformed into immense pieces of water, on which people 
were rowed in gondolas; then these were transformed again into 
forest (I speak of what I have seen in six weeks); basins were 
changed a hundred times; cascades the same; and carp ponds 
adorned with the most exquisite painting, scarcely finished, 
were changed and differently arranged by the same hands. ... I 
am under the mark in saying that even Versailles did not cost 
so much as Marly. 

140. Court Life 1 

At eight o'clock the chief valet de chamhre on duty, who alone 
had slept in the royal chamber, and who had dressed himself, 
awoke the king. The chief physician, the chief surgeon, and 
the nurse (as long as she lived) entered at the same time. ... At 
quarter past the hour the grand chamberlain was called and 
all those who had what was called the grandes entrees. The 
chamberlain drew back the curtains which had been closed 
again, and presented the holy water from the vase, at the head 
of the bed. These gentlemen stayed but a moment, and that 
was the time to speak to the king, if anyone had anything to 
ask of him; in which case the rest stood aside. When, contrary 
to custom, nobody had aught to say, they were there but for a 
few moments. He who had opened the curtains and presented 

1 Saint-Simon, Memoires, vol. iii, pp. 21-27. 


Louis XIV and his Court 

the holy water, presented also a prayer-book. Then all passed 
into the cabinet of the council. A very short religious service 
being over, the king called, and they reentered. The same 
officer gave him his dressing-gown; immediately after, other 
privileged courtiers entered, and then everybody, in time to 
find the king putting on his shoes and stockings, for he did 
almost everything himself and with address and grace. Every 
other day we saw him shave himself; and he had a little short 
wig in which he always appeared, even in bed. . . . No toilet 
table was near him; he had simply a mirror held before him. 

As soon as he was dressed, he prayed to God, at the side of his 
bed, where all the clergy knelt, the cardinals without cushions, 
all the laity remaining standing; and the captain of the guards 
came to the balustrade during the prayer, after which the king 
passed into his cabinet. He found there a very numerous 
company, for it included everybody in any office. He gave 
orders to each for the day; thus within less than ten minutes 
it was known what he meant to do; and then all this crowd 
left directly. . . . 

All the court meantime waited for the king in the gallery, the 
captain of the guard being alone in the chamber, seated at the 
door of the cabinet. . . . During this pause the king gave audi- 
ences, when he wished to accord any, and gave secret inter- 
views to foreign ministers. They were called "secret" simply 
to distinguish them from the uncommon ones by the bedsides. 

The king went to mass, where his musicians always sang an 
anthem. While he was going to and returning from mass, 
everybody spoke to him who wished, after apprising the captain 
of the guard, if they were not distinguished; and he came 
and went by the door of the cabinets into the gallery. During 
mass the ministers assembled in the king's chamber, where 
distinguished people could go and speak or chat with them. 
The king amused himself a little upon returning from mass and 
asked almost immediately for the council. Then the morning 
was finished. . . . 

Dinner the king ate by himself in his chamber upon a square 

Court Life 283 

table in front of the middle window. It was more or less 
abundant, for he ordered in the morning whether it was to be 
"a little " or "very Httle" service. But even at this last, there 
were always many dishes, and three courses without counting 
the fruit. . . . Upon leaving the table the king immediately 
entered his cabinet. That was the the time for distinguished 
people to speak to him. He stayed at the door a moment to 
Usten, then entered; very rarely did anyone follow him, never 
without asking him for permission to do so; and for this few 
had the courage. . . . 

The king amused himself by feeding his dogs, and remained 
with them more or less time, then asked for his wardrobe, 
changed before the very few distinguished people it pleased 
the first gentleman of the chamber to admit there, and im- 
mediately went out by the backstairs into the court to get into 
his coach. From the bottom of that staircase to the coach, 
anyone who wished spoke to him. . . . 

As he was but Httle sensitive to heat or cold, or even to rain, 
the weather was seldom sufficiently bad to prevent his going 
abroad. He went out for three objects: stag-hunting, once or 
more each week; shooting in his parks (and no man handled 
a gun with more grace or skill), once or twice a week; and walk- 
ing in his gardens for exercise, and to see his workmen. Some- 
times he had picnics with ladies in the forest at Marly or at 
Fontainebleau, and in this last place, promenades with all the 
court around the canal, which were a magnificent spectacle. 
Nobody followed him in his other promenades but those who 
held principal offices, except at Versailles or in the gardens 
of Trianon. . . . 

The stag-hunting parties were on an extensive scale. At 
Fontainebleau every one went who wished; elsewhere only 
those were allowed to go who had obtained the permission once 
for all, and those who had obtained leave to wear the jiistau- 
corps, which was a blue uniform with silver and gold lace, fined 
with red. The king did not like too many people at these 
parties. He did not care for you to go if you were not fond of 

284 Louis XIV and his Court 

the chase. He thought that ridiculous, and never bore ill-will 
to those who stayed away altogether. 

It was the same with the gambling-table, which he liked to 
see always well frequented. He amused himself at Fontaine- 
bleau during bad weather by seeing good players at tennis, 
in which he had formerly excelled; and at Marly *by seeing mall 
played, in which he had also been skillful. Sometimes when 
there was no council, he would make presents of cloths, or of 
silver-ware, or jewels, to the ladies, by means of a lottery, for 
the tickets of which they paid nothing. . . . The king took no 

Upon returning home from walks or drives, anybody, as I 
have said, might speak to the king from the moment he left his 
coach till he reached the foot of his staircase. He changed his 
dress again and rested in his cabinet an hour or more. . . . 

At ten o'clock his supper was served. The captain of the 
guard announced this to him. . . . This supper was always on a 
grand scale, the royal household at table, and a large number of 
courtiers and ladies present, sitting or standing. . . . 

After supper the king stood some moments, his back to the 
balustrade, of the foot of his bed, encircled by all his court; 
then, with bows to the ladies, passed into his cabinet, where on 
arriving, he gave his orders. He passed a little less than an 
hour there, seated in an arm-chair. . . . 

The king, wishing to retire, went and fed his dogs; then 
said good night, passed into his chamber, where he said his 
prayers, as in the morning, and undressed. He said good 
night with an inclination of the head, and while everybody 
was leaving the room stood at the corner of the mantelpiece, 
where he gave the order to the colonel of the guards alone. 
Then commenced what was called the petit coucher, at which 
only specially privileged persons remained. They did not 
leave until he got into bed. 



In the long roll of English seamen and explorers, the 
name of Captain James Cook stands among the fore- 
most. He was born of humble parents in the year 1728, 
entered the royal navy as a common sailor, and rose 
through his own efforts to the rank of master. Cook's 
practical knowledge of the sea, together with the repu- 
tation which he had gained as a mathematician and 
astronomer, led to his selection in 1768 to command a 
scientific expedition to the South Pacific Ocean. This 
was the first of the three celebrated voyages which Cook 
made round the world. These voyages he himself de- 
scribed in as many volumes. 

141. The Tahitians 2 

In August, 1768, Cook set out in the Endeavour, a ship of only 370 
tons, and reached Tahiti eight months later (April, 1769). From Tahiti 
he sailed in search of the great southern continent which was supposed 
to exist in the Pacific. After exploring . the Society Islands, Cook 
proceeded to New Zealand, whose coasts he circumnavigated and 
charted. The channel dividing the two islands of New Zealand still 
bears his name. He left New Zealand in March, 1770, and proceeded 
to " New Holland," or Australia, where he surveyed the whole east 
coast. After proving that Australia and New Guinea were separate 
islands, Cook returned by way of the Cape of Good Hope to England 
(June, 1 771). During this memorable voyage the longest stay was 
made in the island of Tahiti, where Cook had excellent opportunities 

1 The Voyages of Captain James Cook round the World. 2 vols. London, 
1853-1854. John Tallis and Company. 

2 An Account of a Voyage round the World in 1768, 1769, 1770, and 1771, bk. 
i, chs. 17-19. 

286 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

for observing its inhabitants. His account of the Tahitians gave to 
the world for the first time a full and remarkably exact description of 
a Polynesian people. 

As to the people, they are of the largest size of Europeans. 
The men are tall, strong, well-limbed, and finely shaped. The 
tallest that we saw was a man upon a neighboring island, called 
Huahine, who measured six feet, three inches and a half. The 
women of the superior rank are also above our middle stature, 
but those of the inferior class are rather below it, and some of 
them are very small. . . . Their complexion is that kind of clear 
olive, or brunette, which many people in Europe prefer to the 
finest white and red. . . . The shape of the face is comely, the 
cheekbones are not high, neither are the eyes hollow, nor the 
brow prominent; the only feature that does not correspond 
with our ideas of beauty is the nose, which is somewhat flat; 
but the eyes, especially those of the women, are full of expres- 
sion, sometimes sparkling with fire and sometimes melting with 
softness; the teeth, also, are most beautifully even and white, 
and the breath without taint. 

Their hair is black and rather coarse: the men have beards, 
which they wear in many fashions, always, however, plucking 
out a great part of them and keeping the rest perfectly clean 
and neat. ... In their motions there is at once vigor and ease; 
their walk is graceful, their bearing easy, and their behavior 
to strangers and to each other affable and courteous. In their 
dispositions, also, they seemed to be brave, open, and candid, 
without either suspicion or treachery, cruelty or revenge; so 
that we placed the same confidence in them as in our best 
friends. They were, however, all thieves; and when that is 
admitted, they need not much fear competition with any other 
people upon earth. . . . 

They have a custom of staining their bodies . . . which they 
call tattooing.^ They prick the skin, so as just not to fetch 
blood, with a small instrument, something in the form of a hoe. 
That part of the instrument which answers to the blade is 

1 A word of Polynesian origin; Tahitian tatu. 

The Tahitians 287 

made of a bone or shell, scraped very thin; the edge is cut 
into sharp teeth or points, from the number of three to twenty, 
according to its size. When tattooing is to be done, they first 
dip the teeth into a mixture of lampblack, formed of the smoke 
that rises from an oily nut which they burn instead of candles, 
and water. The teeth, thus prepared, are then placed upon the 
skin, and the handle to which they are fastened being struck 
by quick, smart blows, they pierce it, and at the same time 
carry into the puncture the black composition, which leaves an 
indelible stain. The operation is painful, and it is some days 
before the wounds are healed. Tattooing is performed upon 
the youth of both sexes when they are about twelve or fourteen 
years of age, on several parts of the body, and in various figures, 
according to the fancy of the parents or perhaps the rank of 
the party. . . . 

Their dress consists of cloth or matting of different kinds. 
The cloth which will not bear wetting they wear in dry weather, 
and the matting when it rains. Their clothing is put on in 
many different ways, just as their fancy leads them; for in 
their garments nothing is cut into shape, nor are any two pieces 
sewed together. ... In the heat of the day they appear almost 
naked, the women having only a scanty petticoat, and the 
men nothing but the sash that is passed between their legs 
and fastened round the waist. . . . Upon their legs and feet 
they wear no covering; but they shade their faces from the 
sun with Uttle bonnets, either of matting or of coconut leaves, 
which they make in a few minutes. . . . Their personal orna- 
ments, besides flowers, are few; both sexes wear earrings, 
but these are placed only on one side. When we came their 
ornaments consisted of small pieces of shell, stone, berries, red 
peas, or some small pearls, three in a string; but our beads very 
soon supplanted them all. . . . 

The houses of the Tahitians are all built in the woods between 
the sea and the mountains. No more ground is cleared for 
each house than is just sufficient to prevent the dropping of 
the branches from rotting the thatch with which they are 

288 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

covered; from the house, therefore, the inhabitant steps im- 
mediately under the shade ... of bread-fruit trees and coco- 
nut trees. . . . Nothing can be more grateful than this shade in 
so warm a climate, nor anything more beautiful than these 
walks. As there is no underwood, the shade cools without 
impeding the air; and the houses, having no walls, receive the 
gale from whatever point it blows. . . . 

The roof of a Tahitian house is thatched with palm-leaves, 
and the floor is covered, several inches deep, with soft hay; 
over this are laid mats, so that the whole is one cushion, upon 
which they sit in the day and sleep at night. In some houses, 
however, there is one stool, which is reserved for the master of 
the family; besides this stool, they have no furniture, except a 
few Httle blocks of wood, the upper side of which is hollowed into 
a curve. These wooden blocks serve them for pillows. The 
house is principally used as a dormitory; unless it rains, they 
eat in the open air, under the shade of the nearest tree. The 
clothes that they wear in the day provide them with covering 
in the night; the floor is the common bed of the whole house- 
hold, and is not divided by any partition. . . . 

Of the food eaten here the greater part consists of vegetables. 
There are no tame animals except hogs, dogs, and poultry, 
and these are by no means plentiful. ... I cannot much com- 
mend the flavor of their fowls; but we all agreed that a South- 
Sea dog was httle inferior to an English lamb. . . . The sea 
affords them a great variety of fish. The smaller fish, when 
they catch any, are generally eaten raw, as we eat oysters; 
and nothing that the sea produces comes amiss to them. . . . 
Of the many vegetables that serve them for food, the principal 
is the bread-fruit, to procure which costs them no trouble or 
labor but climbing a tree. Bread-fruit trees do not, indeed, 
shoot up spontaneously; but if a man plants ten of them in 
his hfetime, which he may do in about an hour, he will as com- 
pletely fulfill his duty to his own and future generations as the 
natives of our less temperate climate can do by ploughing in 
the cold of winter and reaping in the summer's heat, as often 

The Tahitians 289 

as these seasons return. ... It is true that the bread-fruit is 
not always in season; but coconuts, bananas, plantains, and 
other fruits supply the deficiency. . . . 

For drink, they have in general nothing but water, or the 
juice of the coconut; the art of producing intoxicating liquor 
being happily unknown among them; neither have they any 
narcotic which they chew, as the natives of some other coun- 
tries chew opium, betel-root, and tobacco. . . . 

Table they have none; but their apparatus for eating is set 
out with great neatness, though the articles are too simple and 
too few to allow anything for show. They commonly eat alone; 
but when a stranger happens to visit them, he sometimes makes 
a second in their mess. . . . 

After meals, and in the heat of the day, the middle-aged 
people of the better sort generally sleep; they are, indeed, 
extremely indolent; and sleeping and eating is almost all that 
they do. Those that are older are less drowsy, and the boys 
and girls are kept awake by the natural activity and spright- 
Uness of their age. 

Their amusements include music, dancing, wrestling, and 
shooting with the bow; they also sometimes vie with each other 
in throwing a lance. . . , Their only musical instruments are 
flutes and drums. The flute is made of a hollow bamboo about 
a foot long, . . . the drum consists of a hollow block of wood, of 
cyHndrical form, solid at one end and covered at the other 
with shark's skin. They beat the drum, not with sticks, but 
with their hands. . . . 

To these instruments they sing . . . couplets when they are 
alone or with their families, especially after it is dark; for 
though they need no fires, they are not without the comfort of 
artificial light between sunset and bedtime. Their candles are 
made of the kernels of a kind of oily nut, which they stick one 
over another upon a skewer that is thrust through the middle 
of them. After the upper one is lighted, it burns down to the 
second, at the same time consuming that part of the skewer 
which goes through it; the second taking fire, burns in the same 

290 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

manner down to the third, and so of the rest. Some of these 
candles will burn a considerable time and give a very tolerable 
light. They do not often sit up above an hour after it is dark. . . . 

I must not conclude my account of the domestic Hfe of these 
people without mentioning their personal cleanhness. . . . The 
natives of Tahiti, both men and women, constantly wash their 
whole bodies in running water three times every day; once as 
soon as they rise in the morning, once at noon, and again before 
they sleep at night, whether the sea or river is near them or at 
a distance. They wash not only the mouth but the hands at 
their meals, almost between every morsel; and their clothes, 
as well as their persons, are kept without spot or stain. . , . 

There are many instances both of ingenuity and labor among 
these people, which, considering the want of metal for tools, 
do them great credit. Their principal manufacture is their 
cloth. . . . This is of three kinds, and is made of the bark of 
three different trees, the Chinese paper mulberry, the bread- 
fruit tree, and the tree which resembles the wild fig tree of the 
West Indies. . . . They are also very dexterous in making basket 
and wicker work; their baskets are of a thousand different 
patterns, many of them exceedingly neat; and the making 
them is an art that every one practices, both men and women. 

They build and carve their boats with great skill. Perhaps 
to fabricate one of their principal vessels with their implements 
is as great a work as to build a British man-of-war with our iron 
tools. They have an adze of stone; a chisel or gouge of bone, 
generally that of a man's arm between the wrist and elbow; a 
rasp of coral; and the skin of a sting-ray, with coral sand as a 
file or polisher. This is a complete catalogue of their tools; 
and with these they build houses, construct canoes, hew stone, 
and fell, cleave, carve, and polish timber. . . . 

Their greatest exploit, to which these tools are less equal 
than to any other, is felling a tree: this requires many hands 
.and the constant labor of several days. When the tree is down, 
they split it with the grain into planks from three to four inches 
thick, the whole length and breadth of the tree. . . . They 

The Tahitians 291 

smooth a plank very expeditiously and dexterously with their 
adzes, and can take off a thin coat from a whole plank without 
missing a stroke. As they have not the art of warping a plank, 
every part of the canoe, whether hollow or flat, is shaped by 
hand. . . . 

As connected with the navigation of these people, I shall 
mention their wonderful sagacity in foretelling the weather, at 
least the quarter from which the wind will blow at a future 
time. ... In their longer voyages they steer by the sun during 
the day, and at night by the stars. The latter the Tahitians 
distinguish by names and know in what part of the heavens 
they will appear in any of the months during which they are 
visible in the horizon. The natives also know the time of their 
annual appearing and disappearing with more precision than 
will easily be believed by a European astronomer. 

We were not able to acquire a perfect idea of the Tahitian 
method of dividing time; but observed that, in speaking of it, 
they never used any term but malama, which signifies moon. 
Of these moons they count thirteen, and then begin again; 
which is a demonstration that they have a notion of the solar 
year; but how they compute their months so that thirteen of 
them shall be commensurate with the year, we could not dis- 
cover. . . . Every day is subdivided into twelve parts, each of 
two hours, of which six belong to the day and six to the night. 
At these divisions they guess pretty nearly by the height of the 
sun while it is above the horizon; but there are a few persons 
who can guess at them, when the sun is below the horizon, by 
the stars. 

In numeration they proceed from one to ten, the number of 
fingers on both hands; and though they have for each number 
a different name, they generally take hold of their fingers one 
by one, shifting from one hand to the other till they come 
to the number they want to express. And in other instances 
we observed that, when they were conversing with each other, 
they joined signs to their words, which were so expressive that 
a stranger might easily learn their meaning. ... In measuring 

292 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

distance they are much more deficient than in computing 
numbers, having but one term, which answers to fathom. When 
they speak of distances from place to place, they express it, 
like the Asiatics, by the time that is required to pass it. . . . 

142. The Natives of the Marquesas Islands ^ 

Cook, by his first voyage, had shown that neither Australia nor 
New Guinea belonged to the supposed Antarctic continent. His 
second voyage was undertaken for the purpose of settling, once for 
all, the question as to the existence of such a region. He sailed with 
the Resolution and the Adventure in July, 1772, touched at the Cape 
of Good Hope, and from there started on a zigzag journey in southern 
waters. Although his small ships ran the risk of destruction from float- 
ing ice. Cook did not rehnquish his search until he had proved that 
Antarctica was only a geographical myth. He spent the remainder 
of this voyage in rediscovering various Pacific archipelagoes which 
preceding Spanish, Dutch, and English navigators had visited, but had 
never accurately surveyed. Among these island groups were the 
Marquesas, the Tonga or Friendly Isles, the New Hebrides, and New 
Caledonia. Later on Cook made another examination of the Pacific 
from New Zealand to Cape Horn, without coming upon any extensive 
land. In July, 1775, he returned to England. He had covered more 
than sixty thousand miles during an absence of just three years. This 
second voyage left the main outHnes of the southern portions of the 
globe substantially as they are known to-day. 

The trees, plants, and other productions of these isles, so 
far as we know, are nearly the same as at Tahiti and the Society 
Islands. The refreshments to be had include hogs, fowls, 
plantains, yams, and some other roots; likewise bread-fruit 
and coconut, but of these not many. At first these articles 
were purchased with nails. Beads, looking-glasses, and such 
trifles, which are so highly valued at the Society Islands, are in 
no esteem here; and even nails at last lost their value for other 
articles far less useful. The inhabitants of these islands, for 
handsome shape and regular features, perhaps surpass all 
other peoples. Nevertheless, the affinity of their language 

1 A Voyage towards the South Pole and round the World . . . in the Years 1772, 
1773, 1774, and 1775, bk. ii, ch. 10. 

The Natives of the Marquesas Islands 293 

to that spoken in Tahiti and the Society Islands shows that 
they are of the same race. . . . 

The men are curiously tattooed from head to foot. The 
figures are various, and seem to be directed more by fancy than 
custom. This tattooing makes them look dark; but the 
women, who are but little punctured, and youths and young 
children, who are not at all punctured, are as fair as some 
Europeans. The men are in general tall; that is, about five 
feet, ten inches, or six feet; but I saw none who were fat and 
lusty; nor did I see any who could be called meager. Their 
teeth are not so good, nor are their eyes so full and lively, as 
those of many other peoples. Their hair, hke ours, is of many 
colors, except red, of which I saw none. Some wear it long; 
but the most common custom is to wear it short, except a bunch 
on each side of the crown, which they tie in a knot. They ob- 
serve different modes in trimming the beard. Some part it, 
and tie it in two bunches under the chin; others plait it; some 
wear it loose, and others quite short. 

The clothing is the same as at Tahiti, and made of the same 
materials; but they do not have it in such plenty, nor is it so 
good. The men, for the most part, have nothing to cover 
their nakedness, except ... a slip of cloth passed round the 
waist and between the legs. This simple dress is quite suffi- 
cient for the cUmate. The dress of the women is a piece of 
cloth, wrapped round the waist like a petticoat, and a loose 
mantle over the shoulders. Their principal head dress, and 
what appears to be their chief ornament, is a sort of broad fillet, 
curiously made of the fibers of the husk of coconuts. . . . Their 
ordinary ornaments are necklaces and amulets made of shells. 
I did not see any with earrings, and yet all of the natives had 
their ears pierced. 

Their dwellings are in the valleys and on the sides of the 
hills near their plantations. They are built after the same 
manner as at Tahiti; but are much meaner, and covered only 
with the leaves of the bread-fruit tree. The most of them are 
built on a square or oblong pavement of stone, raised some 

294 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

height above the level of the ground. They likewise have 
such pavements near their houses, on which they sit to eat and 
amuse themselves. In the matter of eating, these people are 
by no means so cleanly as the Tahitians; they are likewise 
dirty in their cookery. Pork and fowls are cooked in an oven 
of hot stones as at Tahiti; but fruit and roots they roast on 
the fire and, after taking off the rind or skin, put them into a 
platter or trough with water, out of which I have seen both 
men and hogs eat at the same time. . . . 

They seem to have dwelhngs or strongholds on the summits 
of the highest hills. These we saw only by the help of telescopes, 
for I did not permit any of our people to go there. We were 
not sufiiciently acquainted with the disposition of the natives, 
which, however, I believe is humane and peaceful. . . . 

143. The Hawaiian Islanders ^ 

Less than a year after his return to England Cook received a com- 
mission from George III to undertake still another voyage. This was 
for the purpose of solving the old problem of the Northwest Passage. 2 
Previous navigators had worked from the east through Hudson Bay; 
Cook was to try to find an opening on the northwest coast of America 
which would lead into Hudson Bay. He sailed in June, 1776, with the 
Resolution and the Discovery, visited Tasmania and New Zealand, and 
passed thence into the island world of the Pacific. Here he discovered 
several islands of the Hervey or Cook Archipelago (April, 1777). In 
February, 1778, he rediscovered the Hawaiian Islands, which a Spanish 
navigator had probably seen more than two centuries before, but whose 
existence had been forgotten. Cook then proceeded up the western 
coast of North America to Bering Strait and beyond, until he found 
the passage barred by ice. After examining both sides of the strait, he 
determined that the two continents of America and Asia approached 
each other as nearly as thirty-six miles. On the return voyage Cook 
again visited the Hawaiian group, which he named after his friend and 
patron, Lord Sandwich. Here he was slain by the natives (February, 
1779). Thus closed the career of one who gave to England her title 
to Australia, and by his discoveries in the Pacific vastly added to 
geographical knowledge. 

1 A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean . . . in the Years 1776, i777, 1778, I779, and 
1780, bk. iii, ch. 12. 2 See page 220. 

The Hawaiian Islanders 295 

In religious beliefs and in the manner of disposing of the 
dead there are many resemblances between the customs of 
the Hawaiians and those of other Polynesian peoples. The 
natives of the Tonga Islands inter their dead in a very decent 
manner, and they also inter their human sacrifices; but they 
do not offer or expose either animals or even plants to their 
gods, as far as we know. Those of Tahiti do not inter their 
dead, but expose them to waste by time and putrefaction, 
though the bones are afterwards buried; and, as this is the case, 
it is very remarkable that they should inter the entire bodies of 
their human sacrifices. They also offer various animals and 
plants to their gods. . . . The people of the Hawaiian Islands, 
again, inter both their common dead and human sacrifices as 
in the Tonga Islands; but they resemble those of Tahiti in 
offering animals and plants to their gods. 

The taboo ^ also prevails in Hawaii to its full extent, and 
seemingly with much more rigor than even in the Tonga Islands. 
For the people here always asked, with great eagerness and 
signs of fear to offend, whether any particular thing which 
they desired to see, or we were unwilling to show, was taboo? 
The maia raa, or forbidden articles at the Society Islands, 
though doubtless the same thing, did not seem to be so strictly 
observed by them, except with respect to the dead, about whom 
we thought them more superstitious than any of the others were. 
But these are circumstances with which we are not as yet 
sufficiently acquainted to be decisive about; and I shall only 
just observe; to show the similitude in other matters connected 
with religion, that the priests here are as numerous as at the 
other islands, if we may judge from our being able, during our 
stay, to distinguish several saying their prayers. 

But whatever resemblance we might discover in the manners 
of the people of Hawaii to those of Tahiti, these of course 
were less striking than the coincidence of language. Indeed, 
the languages of both places may be said to be almost word for 
word the same. It is true that we sometimes heard various 

1 A word of Polynesian origin; Tonga tabu, Samoan iapu, Hawaiian kapu. 

296 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

words which were pronounced exactly as we had found at 
New Zealand and the Tonga Islands; but though all the four 
dialects are indisputably the same, the Hawaiians in general 
have neither the strong guttural pronunciation of the former, 
nor a less degree of it which also distinguishes the latter; and 
they have not adopted the soft mode of the Tahitians in avoid- 
ing harsh sounds. . . . 

How shall we account for this people's having spread itself 
into so many detached islands, so widely separated from each 
other and in every quarter of the Pacific Ocean? We find it 
from New Zealand in the south, as far as the Hawaiian Islands 
to the north, and, in another direction, from Easter Island to 
the New Hebrides; that is, over an extent of sixty degrees of 
latitude, or twelve hundred leagues north and south, and eighty- 
three degrees of longitude, or sixteen hundred and sixty leagues 
east and west. How much farther in either direction its colonies 
reach is not known; but what we know already, in consequence 
of this and our former voyage, warrants our pronouncing it to 
be, though perhaps not the most numerous, certainly by far 
the most extensive, people upon earth. . . , 



During the years 1787, 1788, and 1789 Arthur Young, 
an Enghshman of means, leisure, and intelhgence, made 
three extended journeys in France. Young, who was 
much interested in the improvement of farming methods, 
went to France particularly to study the agricultural 
situation there, but his observant eyes did not miss 
many aspects of the economic and political conditions 
prevailing at the outbreak of the Revolution. Conse- 
quently his Travels is a book of considerable historical 
interest, from the sidelights it throws on the life and 
manners of the French people under the Old Regime. 

144. Poverty and Misery of the People - 

Poverty and poor crops as far as Amiens; women are now 
ploughing with a pair of horses. The difference of the customs 
of the two nations is in nothing more striking than in the labors 
of the female sex. In England, it is very little that women 
will do in the fields except to glean and make hay; the first is a 
party of pilfering and the second of pleasure; in France, they 
plough and fill the dung-cart. 

The same wretched country continues to La Loge; the fields 
are scenes of pitiable management, as the houses are of misery. 
Yet all this country is highly improvable, if they knew what 
to do with it; the property, perhaps, of some of those glitter- 
ing beings who figured in the procession the other day at 

1 Arthur Young's Travels in France, edited by Miss Betham-Edwards. 4th 
edition. London, 1892. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 8-9, 19, 27, 123, 125, 189, 197-198. 

29B France on the Eve of the Revolution 

Versailles. Heaven grant me patience when I see a country 
thus neglected — and forgive me the oaths I swear at the 
absence and ignorance of the possessors. 

Pass Payrac, and meet many beggars, which we had not done 
before. All the country people, girls and women, are without 
shoes or stockings; and the ploughmen at their work have 
neither sabots nor feet to their stockings. This is a kind of 
poverty that strikes at the root of national prosperity; a large 
consumption among the poor being of more consequence than 
among the rich. The wealth of a nation lies in its circulation 
and consumption; and the case of poor people abstaining from 
the use of manufactures of leather and wool ought to be con- 
sidered as an evil of the first magnitude. It reminded me of 
the misery of Ireland. 

As far as Combourg the country has a savage aspect . . . the 
people almost as wild as their country, and their town of Com- 
bourg one of the most brutal, filthy places that can be seen: 
mud houses, no windows, and a pavement so broken as to 
impede all passengers, but ease none — yet here is a chateau, 
and inhabited. Who is this M. de Chateaubriand, the owner, 
that has nerves strong for a residence amid such filth and 

To Montauban. The poor people seem poor indeed; the 
children terribly ragged, if possible worse clad than if with no 
clothes at all; as to shoes and stockings, they are luxuries. A 
beautiful girl of six or seven years playing with a stick, and 
smiling under such a bundle of rags as made my heart ache to 
see her; they did not beg, and when I gave them anything 
seemed more surprised than obliged. One-third of what I have 
seen of this province seems uncultivated, and nearly all of it in 
misery. What have kings, and ministers, and parliaments, 
and states to answer for their prejudices, seeing millions of hands 
that would be industrious are rather idle and starving, through 
the execrable maxims of despotism or the equally detestable 
prejudices of a feudal nobility. 

Nangis is near enough to Paris for the people to be politi- 

Poverty and Misery of the People 299 

cians; my hair-dresser this morning tells me that everybody 
is determined to pay no taxes, should the National Assembly 
so ordain. But the soldiers, I said, will have something to say. 
No, Sir, never — be assured that French soldiers will never fire 
on the people. If they should, it is better to be shot than 
starved. He gave me a frightful account of the misery of the 
people: whole families in the utmost distress; those that work 
have pay insufficient to feed them, and many find it difficult 
to get work at all. 

Walking up a long hill, to ease my horse, I was joined by a 
poor woman, who complained of the times and said that it 
was a sad country. Asking her reasons, she said her husband 
had but a morsel of land, one cow, and a poor little horse, 
yet they had forty-two pounds of wheat and three chickens 
to pay as a quit-rent to one noble; and one hundred and sixty- 
eight pounds of oats to pay to another, besides very heavy 
taxes. She had seven children, and the cow's milk helped to 
make the soup. But why, instead of a horse, do not you 
keep another cow? Oh, her husband could not carry his pro- 
duce so well without a horse; and asses are little used in the coun- 
try. It was said, at present, that something was to be done by 
some great folks for such poor ones, but she did not know who 
nor how, but God send us better times, "for the taxes and the 
duties crush us." 

This woman, at no great distance, might have been taken for 
sixty or seventy years of age, her figure was so bent and her 
face so furrowed and hardened by labor — but she said she was 
only twenty-eight. An Englishman, who has not traveled, 
cannot imagine the figure made by the greater part of the 
countrywomen in France; it indicates, at the first sight, hard 
and severe labor. I am inclined to think that they work 
harder than the men, and this, united with the more miserable 
labor of bringing a new race of slaves into the world, destroys 
absolutely all symmetry of person and every feminine appearance. 
To what are we to attribute this difference in the manners of 
the lower people in the two kingdoms? To Government. 

300 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

145. Poor Cultivation of the Land ^ 

Leaving Sauve, I was much struck with a large tract of land, 
seemingly nothing but huge rocks; yet most of it inclosed and 
planted with the most industrious attention. Every man has 
an olive, a mulberry, an almond, or a peach tree, and vines 
scattered among them; so that the whole ground is covered 
with the oddest mixture of these plants that can be conceived. 
The inhabitants of this village deserve encouragement for their 
industry; and if I was a French minister, they should have it. 
They would soon turn all the deserts around them into gardens. 

From Gange to the mountain of rough ground which I 
crossed, the ride has been the most interesting which I have 
taken in France; the efforts of industry the most vigorous; 
the animation the most lively. An activity has been here 
that has swept away all difficulties before it, and has clothed 
the very rocks with verdure. It would be a disgrace to common 
sense to ask the cause: the enjoyment of property must have 
done it. Give a man the secure possession of a bleak rock and 
he will turn it into a garden; give him a nine years' lease of a 
garden and he will convert it into a desert. 

Take the road to Monein, and come presently to a scene 
which was so new to me in France that I could hardly believe 
my eyes. A succession of many well constructed, tight, and 
comfortable farming cottages, built of stone and covered with 
tiles; each having its little garden, inclosed by dipt thorn 
hedges, with plenty of peach and other fruit trees, some fine 
oaks scattered in the hedges, and young trees nursed up with 
so much care that nothing but the fostering attention of the 
owner could effect anything like it. To every house belongs a 
farm, perfectly well inclosed, with grass borders mown and 
neatly kept around the corn fields, and with gates to pass from 
one inclosure to another. . . . The land is all in the hands of 
little proprietors, without the farms being so small as to occasion 
a vicious and miserable population. An air of neatness, warmth, 

1 Young, Travels in France, pp. 53, 54, 61, 70-71, 72. 

Extravagant Expenditures 301 

and comfort breathes over the whole. It is visible in their 
newly built houses and stables; in their little gardens; in their 
hedges; in the courts before their doors; even in the coops 
for their poultry and the sties for their hogs. A peasant does 
not think of rendering his pig comfortable, if his own happiness 
hangs by the thread of a nine years' lease. We are now in 
Beam, within a few miles of the cradle of Henry IV.^ Do they 
inherit these blessings from that good prince? The benignant 
genius of that good monarch seems to reign still over the country; 
each peasant has ''the fowl in the pot." 

In this thirty-seven miles of country, lying between the great 
rivers Garonne, Dordogne, and Charente, and consequently 
in one of the best parts of France for markets, the quantity of 
waste land is surprising: it is the predominant feature the 
whole way. Much of these wastes belonged to the prince de 
Soubise, who would not sell any part of them. Thus it is 
whenever you stumble on a grand seigneur, even one that was 
worth millions, you are sure to find his property a desert. The 
duke of Bouillon's and this prince's are two of the greatest 
properties in France; and all the signs I have yet seen of their 
greatness are wastes and deserts. Go to their residences, 
wherever they may be, and you would probably find them in 
the midst of a forest, very well peopled with deer, wild boars, 
and wolves. Oh! if I was the legislator of France for a day, I 
would make such great lords skip again. 

Poitou, from what I see of it, is an unimproved, poor, and 
ugly country. It seems to want communication, demand, and 
activity of all kinds; nor does it, on an average, yield the half 
of what it might. 

146. Extravagant Expenditures 2 

In this journey through Languedoc I have passed an incredi- 
ble number of splendid bridges and many superb causeways. 
But this only proves the absurdity and oppression of govern- 

^ Henry of Navarre, king of France, 1 589-1610. 
2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 58, 92, 132. 

302 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

ment. Bridges that cost 70,000 or 80,000 pounds and im- 
mense causeways to connect towns, that have no better inns 
than such as I have described, appear to be gross absurdities. 
They cannot be made for the mere use of the inhabitants, 
because one-fourth of the expense would answer the purpose 
of real utility. They are therefore objects of public magnif- 
icence, and consequently for the eye of travelers. But what 
traveler, with his person surrounded by the beggarly filth of 
an inn, and with all his senses offended, will not condemn such 
inconsistencies as folly, and will not wish for more comfort and 
less appearance of splendor. 

To the Benedictine abbey of St. -Germain, to see pillars of 
African marble. It is the richest abbey in France; the abbot 
has an income of over thirteen thousand pounds a year. I lose 
my patience at such revenues being thus bestowed; consis- 
tent with the spirit of the tenth century, but not with that of 
the eighteenth. What a noble farm would the fourth of this 
income establish! What turnips, what cabbages, what potatoes, 
what clover, what sheep, what wool! Are not these things 
better than a fat ecclesiastic? If an active English farmer was 
mounted behind this abbot, I think he would do more good to 
France wdth half the income than half the abbots of the kingdom 
with the whole of theirs. 

Arrive at the great commercial city of Nantes. Go to the 
theater, newly built of fine white stone, with a magnificent 
portico front of eight elegant Corinthian pillars, and four 
others within, to part the portico from a grand vestibule. 
Within all is gold and painting. It is, I believe, twice as large 
as Drury Lane,^ and five times as magnificent. The day was 
Sunday, and the theater was therefore full. Mon Dieu! cried 
I to myself, do all the wastes, the deserts, the heath, furz, broom, 
and bog, that I have passed for three hundred miles, lead to this 
spectacle? What a miracle, that all this splendor and wealth 
of the cities in France should be so unconnected with the country! 
There are no gentle transitions: at once from beggary to pro- 

1 A famous London play-house. 

Defective Administration of Justice 303 

fusion. . . . The country is deserted, or, if a gentleman is in it, 
you find him in some wretched hole, to save that money which 
is lavished with profusion in the luxuries of a capital. 

147. Defective Administration of Justice ^ 

Take the road to Lourdes, where is a castle on a rock, garri- 
soned for the mere purpose of keeping state prisoners, sent 
hither by lettres de cachet. Seven or eight are known to be 
here at present; thirty have been here at a time; and many for 
life. They were torn by the hand of jealous tyranny from the 
bosom of domestic comfort; from wives, children, friends, and 
hurried for crimes unknown to themselves — more probably 
for virtues — to languish in this detested abode of misery and 
die of despair. Oh, liberty ! liberty ! — and yet this is the mildest 
government of any considerable country in Europe, our own ex- 
cepted. The dispensations of Providence seem to have per- 
mitted the human race to exist only as the prey of tyrants, as 
it has made pigeons for the prey of hawks. 

I was sorry to see, at the village, a pillory erected, to which a 
chain and heavy iron collar are fastened, as a mark of the lordly 
arrogance of the nobility and the slavery of the people. I asked 
why it was not burned, with the horror it merited? The 
question did not excite the' surprise I expected, and which it 
would have done before the French Revolution. ^ This led 
to a conversation, by which I learned that in the High Savoy 
there are no seigneurs, and the people are generally at their 
ease; possessing little properties, and the land in spite of nature 
almost as valuable as in the lower country, where the people 
are poor and ill at their ease. I demanded why? "Because 
there are seigneurs everywhere." What a vice is it, and even 
a curse, that the gentry, instead of being the cherishers and 
benefactors of their poor neighbors, should thus, by the abomi- 
nation of feudal rights, prove mere tyrants. Will nothing 
but revolutions, which cause their chateaux to be burnt, induce 

1 Young, Travels in France, pp. 60, 278-279. 

2 This entry in Yoiing's journal is under date December 24, 1789. 

304 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

them to give to reason and humanity what will be extorted by 
violence and commotion? 

148. Signs of Impending Revolution ^ 

Dined to-day at a party where the conversation was entirely 
political. . . . One opinion pervaded the whole company: that 
they are on the eve of some great revolution in the government; 
that everything points to it; the confusion in the finances 
great; with a deficit impossible to provide for without the 
Estates-General of the kingdom, yet no ideas formed of what 
would be the consequence of their meeting; no minister exist- 
ing, or to be found in or out of power, with such decisive talents 
as to promise any other remedy than palhative ones; a prince 
on the throne, with excellent dispositions but lacking the re- 
sources of mind that could govern in such a moment without 
ministers; a court buried in pleasure and dissipation ... a 
great ferment among all ranks of men, who are eager for some 
change, without knowing what to look to, or to hope for; and 
a strong leaven of liberty, increasing every hour since the 
American Revolution. All these together form a combination 
of circumstances that promise before long to ferment into 
motion, if some master-hand, of very superior talents and 
inflexible courage, is not found at the helm to guide events, 
instead of being driven by them. 

It is very remarkable that such conversation never occurs, 
but a bankruptcy is a topic, the curious question on which is, 
Would a bankruptcy occasion a civil war and a total overthrow 
of the government? The answers that I have received to this 
question appear to be just: such a measure, conducted by a 
man of abilities, vigor, and firmness, would certainly not occa- 
sion either one or the other. But the same measure, attempted 
by a man of a different character, might possibly do both. All 
agree that the Estates-General cannot assemble without more 
liberty being the consequence; but I meet with so few men 
that have any just ideas of freedom that I question much the 

1 Young, Travels in France, pp. 97-98, 153-154, 214. 

Signs of Impending Revolution 305 

species of this new liberty that is to arise. They know not 
how to value the privileges of the people; as to the nobility 
and the clergy, if a revolution added anything to their scale, 
I think it would do more mischief than good. 

The business going forward at present in the pamphlet 
shops of Paris is incredible. I went to the Palais Royal to see 
what new things were published and to procure a catalogue 
of all. Every hour produces something new. Thirteen came 
out to-day, sixteen yesterday, and ninety-two last week. We 
think sometimes that Debrett's or Stockdale's shops at London 
are crowded, but they are mere deserts, compared to Desein's 
and some others here, in which one can scarcely squeeze from 
the door to the counter. . . . This spirit of reading political 
tracts, they say, spreads into the provinces, so that all the presses 
of France are equally employed. 

Nineteen- twentieths of these productions are in favor of 
liberty, and commonly violent against the clergy and nobiUty. 
I have to-day found many of this description; but inquiring 
for such as had appeared on the other side of the question, 
to my astonishment I discovered there are but two or three 
that have merit enough to be known. Is it not wonderful that, 
while the press teems with the most leveling and even sedi- 
tious principles, which, if put in execution, would overturn the 
monarchy, nothing in reply appears, and that not the least 
step is taken by the court to restrain this extreme freedom of 
publication? It is easy to conceive the spirit that must thus 
be raised among the people. 

But the coffee houses in the Palais Royal present yet more 
singular and astonishing spectacles; they are not only crowded 
within, but other expectant crowds are at the doors and windows, 
listening mouth open to certain orators, who from chairs or 
tables harangue each his little audience. The eagerness with 
which they are heard, and the thunder of applause they receive 
for every sentiment of more than common hardihood or violence 
against the present government, cannot easily be imagined. 
I am all amazement at the ministry permitting such nests and 

3o6 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

hotbeds of sedition and revolt, which disseminate among the 
people, every hour, principles that by and by must be opposed 
with vigor, and therefore it seems Httle short of madness to 
allow their propagation at present. 

The mischiefs which have been perpetrated in the country 
are numerous and shocking. Many chateaux have been burnt., 
others plundered, the seigneurs hunted down like wild beasts, 
their papers and titles burnt, and all their property destroyed : 
and these abominations not inflicted on marked persons, who 
were odious for their former conduct or principles, but an in- 
discriminating, bUnd rage for the love of plunder. Robbers, 
galley-slaves, and villains of all denominations have collected 
and instigated the peasants to commit all sorts of outrages. 
Some gentlemen informed me that similar commotions and 
mischiefs were being perpetrated everywhere; and that it was 
expected they would pervade the whole kingdom. 



Etienne Denis Pasquier, born in 1767, sprang from a 
family which had long been distinguished at the French 
bar. He was himself intended for the legal profession, 
and at an early age he entered the Parlement of Paris. 
He witnessed many of the scenes of the French Revolu- 
tion, under Napoleon became a baron, and served the 
emperor faithfully. After Napoleon's downfall Pasquier 
held important offices of state under Louis XVHI, Charles 
X, and Louis Philippe. He retired from active life in 
1848, for the purpose of compiling the reminiscences of 
his long and honorable career. Pasquier's views were 
those of a moderate reformer, who desired to renovate, 
but not to end, the old monarchy. He welcomed the 
Restoration in 181 5 as ''bringing back France to the form 
of government best suited for it." The following account 
of the Old Regime, with which Pasquier begins his Memoirs, 
must be read in the light of the author's conservative 

149. The Old Regime 2 

I took part in the opening of the Estates-General, and, in 
spite of the pomp with which the royal power was still sur- 
rounded, I there saw the passing away of the Old Regime. 

The regime which preceded 1789 should, it seems to me, be 
considered from a twofold aspect: the one, the general condition 

1 A History of My Time. Memoirs of the Chancellor Pasquier, translated by C. 
E. Roche. New York, 1893. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Pasquier, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 44-52. 

3o8 Scenes of the French Revolution 

of the country; and the other, the relations existing between 
the government and the country. With regard to the former, 
I firmly believe that, from the earliest days of the monarchy, 
France had at no period been happier than she was then. . . . 
If several wars, undertaken with little skill, and waged with 
still less, had compromised the honor of her arms and the repu- 
tation of her government; if they had even thrown her finances 
into a somewhat alarming state of disorder, it is but fair to say 
that the confusion resulting therefrom had merely affected 
the fortunes of a few creditors, and had not tapped the sources 
of public prosperity; on the contrary, what is styled the 
public administration had made constant progress. . . . 

Roads had been opened connecting numerous points, and 
had been greatly improved in all directions. It should not be 
forgotten that these benefits are principally due to the reign 
of Louis XV. Their most important result had been a progres- 
sive improvement in the condition of agriculture. 

The reign of Louis XVI had continued favoring this wise 
policy, which had not been interrupted by the maritime war 
undertaken on behalf of American independence. Many cotton- 
mills had sprung up, while considerable progress had been made 
in the manufacture of printed cotton fabrics and of steel, and 
in the preparing of skins. . . . Louis XVI also encouraged agri- 
culture by every means at his command. The importation 
of merino sheep, that precious breed which has done so much 
to bring wealth to the farmer and to the manufacturer of woolens, 
must be placed to his credit. He had established model farms, 
thus placing at the disposal of agriculturists the resources of 
theory and facilities for their application. Large edifices were 
being erected in Paris, while considerable building was taking 
place in the villages. Foreigners flocked to the capital, where 
reigned a display of elegance which has never been surpassed. 

What was at that time the form of government in France? 
It was no longer that of the ancient feudal monarchy, under 
which the throne, surrounded by its vassals, kept the nation 
at a great distance from its steps; under which the power 

The Old Regime 309 

emanating from this throne impressed the people with a respect 
that verged on superstition; under which the sovereign might 
at times be exposed to the acts of rebellion of some of the more 
turbulent among these high vassals . . . but under which they 
ever ended with some treaty benefiting those who had shown 
themselves the most to be feared, the cost of such treaty coming 
as a matter of course out of the pockets of the nation and of 
the country. Richelieu, and after him, Louis XIV, had broken 
down these feudal potentates. The structure, of which they 
were the component parts, and which they helped to support, 
had been supplemented by a monarchy all for show, if one may 
employ such an expression, wherein the king alone had remained 
great and the cynosure of all eyes. Louis XIV, by fashion- 
ing it to his measure, had imparted to it something of his 
imposing air. . . . 

The royal power, under the Regency, under Louis XV, and 
under Louis XVI, passed through many weak or incapable hands. 
It was, moreover, subjected to so many intrigues of the court 
and even of the boudoir, that, as a result, there was a consider- 
able diminution of its prestige. . . . 

The government was neither a hard nor a vexatious one. 
All things connected with it, which were not de jure tempered 
by the laws, were so de facto by the usages and customs of the 
day. The right of property was respected; for the immense 
majority of Frenchmen there was ulmost complete individual 
liberty. Still, this liberty was not inviolate, since, in spite of 
repeated protests from, the parlement, the power of arrest, 
imprisonment, and exile was exercised by means of lettres de 

It must be acknowledged that, with the exception of a few 
persons whose actions caused the government particular irrita- 
tion, the rest of the citizens practically enjoyed the most com- 
plete liberty. One was free to speak, to write, to act with the 
greatest independence, and one could even defy the authorities 
in perfect security. Though the press was not legally free, 
yet anything and everything was printed and hawked about with 

3IO Scenes of the French Revolution 

audacity.^ The most sedate personages, the magistrates them- 
selves, who ought to have curbed this licentiousness, actually 
encouraged it. Writings the most dangerous, and the most 
fatal to authority, were to be found in their possession. If, 
from time to time, some of the most zealous and conscientious of 
them denounced any flagrant case in the halls of the parle- 
ment,2 their action was almost treated as ridiculous, and usually 
led to no result. Those who will not grant that this was liberty, 
must perforce admit that it was license. 

There still remained certain pecuniary manorial rights; 
but they constituted a form of property as good as any other, 
and which could be held by a commoner as well as by one of 
noble birth. The power of the seigneurs over the bodies of their 
vassals no longer had any existence except in fiction; about 
all that was left to the seigneurs of the old feudal power was the 
shadowy obligation to protect these same vassals. 

At the time of his accession, Louis XVI completely did away 
with anything that might still be found oppressive in the exer- 
cise of this power. Hence there was between the nobility and 
the other citizens, just as there was between those citizens 
and the clergy, but one question in dispute, that of pecuniary 
privileges. . . . 

The influence of the clergy did not make itself felt any more 
heavily on the individual than did that of the nobihty. The 
concessions just granted to* Protestants, in the matter of their 
civil status, had met with no obstruction on the part of the eccle- 
siastical power. Nothing could illustrate better how tolerant 
it had become. The higher clergy became reconciled to the 
views known as the Light of the century. With regard to the 
cures, who came into actual contact with the people, they 
merely extended their paternal care of their flocks, which also 
absorbed the better part of their income. 

Whence came then that passion for reform, that desire to 

1 Arthur Young also refers to the extreme liberty, or rather license, of the French 
press in pre-Revolutionary days. See page 305. 

2 The Parlement of Paris was the royal court of justice. 

Opening of the Revolution 311 

change everything which made itself manifest at the close of 
the eighteenth century? It was due rather to a great stirring 
up of ideas than to actual sufferings. So much had been written 
about these ideas, they had been so greatly discussed, that 
doubt had been cast upon all things. The sovereign authority 
had been in a more particular manner broken 'n upon, and the 
court of Louis XVI had not known how to restore the waning 
prestige of royal majesty, even in the matter of that exterior 
glamor, which oftentimes suffices to insure the obedience of 
the masses. 

The court, sceptical and corrupt, was composed of the de- 
scendants of the most noble families of France, but also, on 
the other hand, of upstarts, in whose case royal favor had stood 
in lieu of services. The arrogance of their pretensions was in 
inverse ratio to their merit, and their insolent haughtiness 
had rendered them odious. . . . 

The irreligious, critical, and philosophical spirit, the inex- 
phcable craze for all sorts of Utopian chimeras, the lowering 
of the moral standard, especially the loss of respect for insti- 
tutions consecrated by time, and for old family traditions, all 
fostered the development of the passions which were soon and 
forever to sweep away the old French society, the Old Regime. 

150. Opening of the Revolution ^ 

Pasquier has a very sober account of the capture of the Bastille, 
July 14, 1789. 

I was present at the taking of the Bastille. What has been 
styled the fight was not serious, for there was absolutely no 
resistance shown. Within the walls of the fortress were neither 
provisions nor ammunition. It was not even necessary to 
invest it. 

The regiment of gardes franqaises, which had led the attack, 
presented itself under the walls on the rue St.-Antoine side, 
opposite the main entrance, which was barred by a drawbridge. 
There was a discharge of a few musket shots, to which no reply 

1 Pasquier, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 55-56, 60-61, 85-86. 

312 Scenes of the French Revolution 

was made, and then four or five discharges from the cannon. 
It has been claimed that the latter broke the chains of the draw- 
bridge. I did not notice this, and yet I was standing close to 
the point of attack. What I did see plainly was the action of 
the soldiers . . . grouped on the platform of the high tower, 
holding their muskets stock in air, and expressing by all 
means employed under similar circumstances their desire of 

The result of this so-called victory, which brought down so 
many favors on the heads of the so-called victors, is well- 
known. The truth is that this great fight did not for a moment 
frighten the numerous spectators who had flocked to witness 
its results. Among them were many women of fashion, who, 
in order to be closer to the scene, had left their carriages some 
distance away. 

The scarcity of food in Paris led to much rioting. On October 5, 
1789, a mob of hungry women, joined by many disorderly men, set out 
for Versailles to demand relief from the king himself. They passed 
the night in the streets of Versailles, and next morning broke into the 
palace and killed several of the guards. To prevent further bloodshed 
Louis XVI agreed to return with his wife and son to Paris. " Now 
we shall have bread," shouted the mob, " for we are bringing the baker, 
the baker's wife, and the baker's little boy." 

The general impression left on my mind by the horrors of 
the 6th of October was strengthened by the one I had felt while 
performing a most melancholy duty. The day following that 
upon which the royal family were dragged captives to the 
Tuileries, the parlement was, according to custom, called upon 
to go and present its respects to them. There were but few 
of the members of that body in Paris, and I was among the few 
of those whom the First President could bring together about 
his person. The traces of violence which met our eyes, the 
confusion existing in the palace, the cast-down and disheart- 
ened appearance of the household, the haughty and triumphant 
attitude of the individuals who, under the orders of Lafayette, 
had captured the palace guards and through whose ranks we 

Opening of the Revolution 313 

were compelled to wend our way, had but feebly prepared us 
for the heart-rending scene which awaited us as soon as we had 
been brought into the presence of our unfortunate sovereigns. 
It seemed that ten years had passed over their heads in the 
space of ten days. 

The king's face bore the imprint of resignation. He under- 
stood that he had not reached the end of his misfortunes. 
Indignation shone through the queen's grief, which displayed 
somewhat more firmness. Her son was sitting in her lap, and, 
in spite of the courage of which she had given so many heroic 
proofs during the past forty-eight hours, one could not but feel 
that the son was for her a safeguard to the protection of which 
she committed herself. When she received us, it was plainly 
to be read in her eyes that she clearly saw in ours to what an 
extent the sorrowful congratulations which we brought were 
in contradiction with the feelings of our innermost hearts, and 
how we suffered at having to speak those meaningless sentences, 
consecrated by usage in days of happiness, and at not being 
able to speak others. 

The emotion with which this scene filled me was as deep as 
lasting. All that in my mind and heart attracted me to and 
inspired me with a taste for a wise and lawfully regulated liberty 
faded away in the presence of the painful spectacle which 
aroused my indignation. Each succeeding day, indeed, wit- 
nessed the increase of disasters, spoliations, and crimes of all 
kinds. My sentiments were offended by the lack of respect 
shown to all that I had accustomed myself to hold in reverence. 
I was neither giddy enough to divest my mind of this spectacle, 
nor enough of a stoic to consider it as a necessary condition of 
the great destinies which awaited regenerated France. 

The following brief reference is made by Pasquier to the attack 
on the Tuileries, August lo, 1792. This fresh revolutionary outbreak 
was followed by the deposition and imprisonment of the king. 

Preparations were bravely and faithfully being made to 
resist, in case of need, an attack upon the Tuileries. The king 
had still at his disposal a regiment of the Swiss Guards, and a 

314 Scenes of the French Revolution 

few battalions of the National Guard, whose loyalty was un- 
doubted. These ready means of defense were increased by a 
number of devoted followers, to whom free access to the cha- 
teau had been granted, and who had firmly resolved to make a 
rampart of their bodies in defense of the royal family. 

Together with the Prince de St.-Maurice, I resolved upon 
joining this faithful band. On the morning of the gth of August 
we wrote to M. de Champcenetz to ask him for cards of admis- 
sion. They had not reached us by evening, and during the 
night between the gth and loth of August, we made several 
vain attempts to get into the chateau, which was then being 
threatened. If I make a note of this fact, it is not because of 
its actual importance, but because of a couple of circumstances 
pertaining thereto, one of which was of a fatal nature, while the 
other was fortunate to a singular degree. The card which I 
had asked for on the gth of August reached me by the local 
post two days later, when all was over. How was it that it 
shoulci have been so long delayed in transmission, without 
being intercepted? How was it, then, that it did not bring 
about my arrest? It was a piece of good luck which I have 
never been able to explain. Fate was not equally kind to the 
Prince de St.-Maurice. His readiness to serve the king had 
had no other result than mine, with the exception that his card 
did not reach him, and that he never discovered any trace of 
it. He lost his head on the scaffold, under the accusation of 
having been one of the defenders of the Tuileries. 

Both of us witnessed the whole scene. The king passed us 
as he crossed the garden of the Tuileries, yielding to the advice 
of going to the Assembly, in order to place himself under its 
protection. As we left, cannon were being fired across the gar- 
den. It was a short-lived fight, but its effect was to destroy 
the most powerful and ancient dynasty reigning in Europe. 

Trial and Execution of Louis XVI 315 

151. Trial and Execution of Louis XVI i 

After a short trial before the Convention Louis XVI was condemned 
to death for " treason to the nation " (January 8, 1793). 

Must I speak of the agonizing days which this trial made me 
go through? Yes, indeed; for if ever this manuscript is pub- 
lished, if even it is merely preserved in my family, I do not wish 
it to remain unknown that my father and I contributed, in so 
far as lay in our power, to the defense of our unfortunate king. 
My father . . . was in a position to render the king every assist- 
ance that lay within his power. He took part in their private 
deliberations, and during the course of the trial he occupied a 
seat in the tribune set aside for the king's defenders, taking 
notes with them, and aiding them in their task. 

During that time I never left the public tribunes and the hall- 
ways of the House, going about in quest of information, gather- 
ing the slightest straws which showed how the wind blew, and 
bringing them all to my father, who would communicate them 
to the other gentlemen. . . . For a short while people let them- 
selves be lulled by illusions. The streets (who would believe 
it?) reechoed songs expressing pity for the fate of the king. . . . 
But popular sentiment was not powerful enough to have any 
influence within the precincts of the haU of the Convention. 
There it was merely the pitiless taking of votes. 

In the tribune of the king's defenders the result was being 
reckoned up, according to what was thought to be the opinions 
of each member. The result of these calculations indicated 
an acquittal. The noble soul of M. de Malesherbes, especially, 
could not abandon the hope of which he so needed the sup- 
port. I can still see him, the day the vote was taken, checking 
off the votes on his note-book as they were recorded, and pass- 
ing from fear to hope, then from hope to despair. The words 
he spoke at the bar of the House, when the vote was finally 
recorded, sufficiently showed how up to the last moment it 
had been impossible for him to realize the perpetration of so 
great a deed of iniquity. ... 

1 Pasquier, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 91-94. 

3i6 Scenes of the French Revolution 

The execution of the king occurred thirteen days later in the great 
public square of Paris, the Place de la Concorde. 

It remains for me to say that I saw the tragedy which was 
enacted on the 21st of January. I lived in a house which 
faced on the boulevard, at the corner of the church of the Made- 
leine. My father and I sat opposite each other all morning, 
buried in our grief and unable to utter a word. We knew that 
the fatal procession was wending its way by the boulevards. 

Suddenly a loud clamor made itself heard. I rushed out 
under the idea that perhaps an attempt was being made to 
rescue the king. How could I do otherwise than cherish such 
a hope to the very last? On reaching the goal I discovered 
that what I had heard was merely the howling of the raving 
madmen who surrounded the vehicle. I found myself sucked in 
by the crowd which followed it, and was dragged away by it, 
and, so to speak, carried and set down at the scaffold's side. 
So it was that I endured the horror of this awful spectacle. 

Hardly had the crime been consummated when a cry of 
"Long live the nation!" arose from the foot of the scaffold, and, 
repeated from man to man, was taken up by the whole of the 
vast concourse of people. This cry was followed by the deepest 
and most gloomy silence. Shame, horror, and terror were 
now hovering over the entire locality. I crossed it once more, 
swept back by the flood which had brought me thither. Each 
one walked along slowly, hardly daring to look at another. 
The rest of the day was spent in a state of profound stupor, 
which spread a pall over the whole city. Twice was I com- 
pelled to leave the house, and on both occasions did I find the 
streets deserted and silent. The assassins had lost their accus- 
tomed spirit of bravado. PubHc grief made itself felt, and they 
were silent in the face of it. 

152. The Reign of Terror 1 

In the month of March, 1793, the revolutionary tribunals 
were organized, together with the committees of General Police 

1 Pasquier, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 95-96, 116-120. 

The Reign of Terror 317 

and of Public Safety. The emigres, the aristocrats, and the 
enemies of the Revolution were all outlawed, and a revolu- 
tionary army was especially intrusted with hunting them down. 

The law of the suspects spread out a huge net from which 
no one might hope to escape. Fresh prisons were opened in 
all directions, and they could scarcely hold the number of 
unfortunate people stowed away in them. The Convention 
let loose all over the country deputies chosen among the most 
ferocious and vicious of the Mountain's membership. France 
was handed over defenseless to these representatives of the 
people, clothed with the most unlimited powers, and disposing, 
at their own free will, of the liberty and hfe of any individual 
whom it pleased them to call a counter-revolutionist. 

In every department, in every town, they found docile 
executors of all their acts of savagery — a score or so of wretches, 
all or almost all sprung from the dregs of the population, hardly 
able to write their names, but invested with the title of members 
of the Revolutionary Committee. For the purpose of having 
their orders carried out, they called into requisition the help of 
the inert mass of citizens, whi^h knows only how to sigh and 
obey, and thus, during a term of eighteen months, the very 
man who was to be arrested the following day took part in 
the arrests of the foregoing one. He who was to perish during 
the next week often escorted to the scaffold, while shouldering a 
pike, the victims of the current week. Officers, soldiers, generals, 
officials, rich and poor, all stood alike in fear of these modern 
proconsuls, and all fled who had the means of flight at their 
disposal. But it was very hard to escape their vigilance when 
one belonged to the proscribed class. 

Pasquier, whose father had beep previously guillotined, did not 
escape suspicion during the Terror. In 1794 he was arrested, together 
with his wife, and taken to the prison of St.-Lazare. A younger brother 
and two brothers-in-law were already confined there. 

In every one of the large prisons were a certain number of 
scoundrels, apparently detained as prisoners like the others, 
but who were really there to select and draw up a list of the 

3i8 Scenes of the French Revolution 

victims. Several of them had become known as spies, and, 
incredible as it may seem, their lives were spared by those in 
the midst of whom they fulfilled their shameful duty. On the 
contrary, the prisoners treated them gently and paid them 
court. I had scarcely passed the first wicket, and was follow- 
ing the jailer who was taking me to the room I was to occupy, 
when I found myself face to face with M. de Montrou, already 
notorious through his scandalous intrigues, and whose ad- 
ventures have since created such a stir in society. He came 
close to me, and without pretending to notice me, whispered 
into my ear the following salutary bit of advice: "While here, 
do not speak a word to anybody whom you do not know 

On reaching with Mme. Pasquier the lodging destined for 
our use, and which had been vacated by the two victims of the 
previous day, we were soon surrounded by our relations, and 
by a few friends who hastened to offer us all the assistance they 
could. We were enjoying, as far as one can enjoy anything 
when in a similar position, these proofs of kindly interest and 
friendship, when one of my brothers-in-law, who was looking 
out of the window, exclaimed, "Ah, here is Pepin Degrouettes 
about to take his daily walk. We must go and show ourselves. 
Come along with us." "Why so?" I queried, whereupon I 
was told that he was the principal one among the rascals whose 
abominable role I have described. . . . Every afternoon he would 
thus take a turn in the yard, and it was for him the occasion 
of passing in review, so to speak, the flock which he was gradually 
sending to the slaughter-house. Woe unto him who seemed to 
hide, or to avoid his look! Such a one was immediately noted, 
and he could be sure that his turn would come next. Many a 
gallant man's death became a settled thing, because he was a 
few minutes late in coming down into the yard and passing 
under the fellow's notice. The surrendering oneself to his 
discretion was apparently a way of imploring mercy at his 
hands. We went through the formality, and it constituted 
a scene which I never can forget. I can still see him, a man 

The Reign of Terror 319 

four feet, seven inches, or four feet, eight inches high, hump- 
backed, of twisted form, bandy-legged, and as red-headed as 
Judas. He was completely surrounded by prisoners, some of 
whom walked backwards in his presence, earnestly soliciting 
a look from him. 

We were told a few days later that, when the last hst was 
made up, he and his assistants had experienced a feeling of pity 
for my young brother whose name was on it, and that they had 
stricken it out. His hvely, frank, and open demeanor, and 
the habit of seeing him for so long (he was, in spite of his youth, 
the oldest resident of the prison), had inspired them with a 
kindly feeling of which they could not divest themselves. To 
this must be attributed his not having shared the fate of young 
Mailly, who was sent to the scaffold for the offense they had 
committed in common, and which consisted in throwing in the 
face of the keeper of the prison some rotten herrings, telling 
him ironically that he might feast on them. . . . 

We all considered ourselves doomed victims, and did not 
think that there remained the slightest chance of salvation, 
when the morning of the gth Thermidor dawned. The day 
passed without the slightest echo of what was happening out- 
side penetrating our prison walls. On the morning of the loth, 
a few of us were informed by turnkeys whom we had remuner- 
ated for certain personal services, that Robespierre had been 
brought to the prison during the night, and that those who 
had him in custody sought to have him incarcerated there, 
but the jailor refused to receive him. This alone was a sufficient 
proof that a most important event was taking place, and during 
the course of the day we succeeded in obtaining newspapers 
which told us all. . . . 

The coup d'etat of the "9th Thermidor " (July 27, 1794) led to the 
overthrow of Robespierre. As a consequence of the reaction in favor 
of ordinary government, Pasquier regained his liberty and his estates. 

When I left St.-Lazare, I found that the march of events had 
been rapid, and that their trend was more and more pronounced 

320 Scenes of the French Revolution 

in favor of order and justice. After having been violently 
repressed, the more enUghtened and the more respectable por- 
tion of the population was about to enjoy the right of hving 
openly. How can I describe the joy of the friends and rela- 
tions come back to life from prisons, or from obscure hiding- 
places, who had lost all hope of meeting again, who inquired 
as to the fate of beloved ones, and about those whom they had 
lost. Their sweetest consolation was to be able to weep together 
over those who had fallen under the revolutionary scythe. 
The first use to which they put their freedom was to make a 
public display of their grief and of their lamentations. Dur- 
ing the Terror, and especially during the last six months of 
its reign, no one dared to wear mourning for those who had 
perished on the scaffold. Mingled with so many heart-rend- 
ing recollections was the joy felt over a deliverance which 
might more appropriately be styled a resurrection. . . . 

None of the terrible laws made during the two past years 
were abrogated, but this did not trouble people. The greater 
part of the assassins, both leaders and hirelings, were still in 
possession of their hves; they mingled unpunished with their 
victims. Who was there to call them to account for the blood 
which they had shed? Contempt protected them against 
hatred, and so, escaping public vengeance, they vanished from 

153. The "18th and 19th Brumaire " ^ 

The last chapter in the history of the French Revolution was written 
on the "i8th and 19th Brumaire" (November 9-10, i799)> when 
Napoleon overthrew the Directory and ended the existence of the 
Council of Five Hundred. Only ten and a half years from the sum- 
moning of the Estates-General at Versailles, parHamentary govern- 
ment in France fell beneath the sword. 

The men most taken into the confidence of Napoleon, and 
who were best informed as to his plans during the days pre- 
ceding the 1 8th Brumaire, were, besides his brother Lucien, 
Messieurs Roederer, Regnaud de St.-Jean d'Angely, Cambaceres, 

1 Pasquier, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 153-156. 

The ''i8th and 19th Brumaire" 321 

and Talleyrand. In addition to these, some hundred and fifty 
men at least were initiated into his secrets, to a higher or lesser 
degree. In spite of this, .the Directory was taken unawares. 
The military guard of the Directory took sides against it, with- 
out its president (Gohier) entertaining the least suspicion of 
this defection. This guard, composed of an infantry regiment 
which had belonged to the army of Italy, and of a cavalry 
regiment commanded by the Corsican Sebastiani, formed the 
nucleus of the mihtary forces Napoleon could dispose of, 
and insured the success of his enterprise. 

General Lefevre, who was in command of the Paris garrison, 
went over to him unreservedly. This service was never for- 
gotten, and the recollection of it is to be found during the bril- 
liant period when Napoleon distributed among his adherents 
so many of the batons of a Marshal of France. Many acces- 
sions to fortune, among those which occurred during the Con- 
sulate and the Empire, are to be explained in the same fashion, 
and their foundations rest upon claims to gratitude dating from 
the same epoch. Whether as First Consul or as Emperor, 
Napoleon ever showed his gratitude in this respect. 

It is unnecessary to dwell to any extent on the scenes of the 
" 1 8th and 19th Brumaire." They have been so often told, and 
no one can have forgotten Napoleon's apostrophe, on the i8th, 
to the partisans of the Directory, as spoken to an emissary of 
B arras: "What have you done with that land of France which 
I left to your care in so magnificent a condition? I bequeathed 
you peace, and on my return I find war. I left you the memory 
of victories, and now I have come back to face defeats. I left 
with you the millions I had gathered in Italy, and to-day I 
see nothing in every direction but laws despoiling the people, 
coupled with distress. What have you done with the one hun- 
dred thousand French citizens, my companions in glory, all 
of whom I knew? You have sent them to their death. This 
state of things cannot last, for it would lead us to despotism. 
We require liberty reposing on the basis of equality." 

It is well known that on the 19th, at St.-Cloud, the firmness 

322 Scenes of the French Revolution 

of Napoleon, so frequently tested on the battlefield, was for a 
moment shaken by the vociferous yells with which he was 
greeted by the Council of Five Hundred, and in the face of which 
he deemed it prudent to beat a retreat. His brother, Lucien, 
was the president of this council, and the firmness of the 
parliamentarian was in this instance more enduring than that 
of the warrior. Lucien weathered the storm, and prevented 
the passing of a decree of outlawry. Napoleon soon returned, 
supported by a military escort commanded by Generals Murat 
and Leclerc. The soldiers had been electrified by a rumor that 
the life of Napoleon had been attempted in the chamber of 
the council. The appearance and the attitude of this faith- 
ful armed band quickly cut the Gordian knot. The chamber 
was soon evacuated, and many of the members of the Council, 
anxious to take the shortest road, fled by the windows. 

So Napoleon remained master of the situation by means of a 
method bearing some resemblance to that put in use by Crom- 
well to rid himself of the Long Parliament. StiU, the French 
general preserved a greater respect for appearances than his 
forerunner, and he took care to shelter himself behind a 
semblance of legality. . . . 

The three provisional consuls were Sieyes and Roger-Ducos 
of the Directory, and Napoleon. This provisional state of 
government lasted only six weeks, during which the consuls 
and the Legislative Commission prepared and drew up a con- 
stitution. This was the fourth in ten years. It was promul- 
gated on the 24th of December, 1799, and is known as the 
Constitution of the Year VIII. Its result was to establish the 
consular government. 

A new era dawned for France with this form of government. 
The face of things was entirely changed, and everything began 
to tend to a new goal. The power of the clubs, and of delibera- 
tive assemblies, was succeeded by the most absolute authority 
placed in the hands of one man. Thus, with but slight shades of 
distinction, will the march of events ever progress henceforth, 
and one form of excess will ever call forth its very opposite. 



The most important source for the life of Napoleon 
is his Correspondence. This was published in 1 858-1 869 
by a commission appointed by Napoleon III, then em- 
peror of the French. There are over twenty thousand 
letters, dispatches, and proclamations in the collection, 
which fills thirty-two volumes. The Correspondence 
covers the period 1 793-181 5; it is not complete, for some 
letters have been omitted, and others more or less garbled 
by the editors. But even in its present form the work 
affords an idea of the prodigious activity of Napoleon, 
who in twenty-two years, despite incessant campaign- 
ing and the heavy burden of administration, found time 
to dictate so many documents. As might be expected, 
these throw light upon almost every aspect of the 
emperor's career. 

154. Napoleon's Early Years 2 

While still a child Napoleon determined to be a soldier. His father 
did not oppose his resolve and s^t him in 1779 to the French miUtary 
school of Brienne, where cadets of noble families received a free educa- 
tion. Napoleon was then ten years of age. He went through the 
ordinary curriculum with credit and showed proficiency in mathe- 
matics. We are told that he devoted much of his spare time to history, 
especially Plutarch's Parallel Lives and Caesar's Commentaries. The 
small Corsican boy, moody, silent, and solitary, made few friends 
among his schoolmates. In 1781, after two years' residence at Brienne, 

1 A Selection from the Letters and Despatches of the First Napoleon, edited by D. 
A. Bingham. 3 vols. London, 1884. Chapman and Hall. 

2 Bmgham, Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 5, 27, 58. 

324 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

he wrote to his father the following letter. It is the earliest specimen 
of his correspondence which has been preserved. 

If you or my protectors do not give me the means of sup- 
porting myself more honorably in the house where I am, let 
me return home immediately. I am tired of exhibiting indigence 
and of seeing the smiles of insolent scholars who are only superior 
to me by reason of their fortune; for there is not one capable 
of feeling the noble sentiments with which I am animated. 
What! sir, your son is to be the laughing-stock of some popin- 
jays, who, proud of the pleasures they give themselves, make 
fun of the privations I endure! No, my father, no! Should 
fortune absolutely refuse the amelioration of my lot, remove 
me from Brienne, and if necessary give me a mechancial pro- 
fession. By these offers judge of my despair. This letter, 
believe me, is not dictated by any vain desire to indulge in 
expensive amusements; I am not at all fond of them. I simply 
experience the want of showing that I have the means of 
procuring them hke the rest of my comrades. 

Having passed his examinations in 1785, Napoleon joined a French 
artillery regiment and learned in practice all the duties of an officer. 
He took a keen interest in the reform movements which were beginning 
to agitate France, adopted republican sentiments, and for a time, at 
least, became a Jacobin. But the following letter to his elder brother, 
Joseph, written from Paris in 1792, indicates that he placed httle 
confidence in the Revolutionary leaders. 

The men at the head of the Revolution are a poor lot. It must 
be acknowledged, when one views matters closely, that the 
people do not deserve all the trouble taken about them. You 
are acquainted with the history of Ajaccio ; ^ that of Paris is 
the same. Perhaps here men are meaner, worse, and greater 
liars. . . . Every one pursues his own interest and searches to 
gain his own ends by dint of all sorts of crimes; people intrigue 
as basely as ever. All this destroys ambition. One pities those 
who have the misfortune to play a part in public affairs. ... To 
live tranquilly and enjoy the affections of one's family is what 

1 Napoleon's native town in Corsica. 

The Rise of Napoleon 325 

one should do when one has five thousand francs a year and is 
between twenty-five and forty years of age; that is to say, when 
the imagination has calmed down and no longer torments one. 
I embrace you, and recommend you to be moderate in all things 
— in all things, mind, if you desire to live happily. 

From his viewpoint in Paris, Napoleon witnessed some of the great 
" days " of the Revolution, including the humiliation of Louis XVI at 
Versailles and the September massacres. His sound common sense 
revolted against such scenes. " Why don't they sweep off four or 
five hundred of that rabble with cannon? " he exclaimed. " The 
rest would then run away fast enough." Two years later he proved 
the truth of his words. On October 5, 1795, a mob advanced to the 
attack of the Tuileries, where the Convention was sitting. The 
young artillery officer, now become a general, met them with a " whiflf 
of grapeshot " and crushed once for all the royalist reaction. Napoleon 
described the scene in a brief letter to Joseph. 

At last all is over. My first idea is to think of you and to 
send you news concerning myself. 

The royaUsts, formed into sections, became daily more 
insolent. The Convention ordered that the Lepelletier sec- 
tion should be disarmed, and it resisted the troops. Menou, 
who commanded, is said to have played the traitor, and was 
at once dismissed. The Convention appointed Barras to com- 
mand the army, and the Committees appointed me second in 
command. We posted the troops; the enemy marched to 
attack us at the Tuileries; we killed a great number of them, 
losing on our side thirty men killed and sixty wounded. We 
have disarmed the sections, and all is quiet. As usual, I was 
not wounded. 

155. The Rise of Napoleon 

Napoleon's success in quelling the Parisian mob gained for him the 
favor of Barras, the most prominent member of the Directory, and an 
appointment to the command of the French army of Italy. To his 
soldiers Napoleon addressed from Nice in 1796 the thrilling proclama- 
tion which follows. 

1 Bingham, Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 64, 208. 

326 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

Soldiers, you were naked, ill-fed: the government owed 
you much asid had nothing to give you. Your patience, and 
the courage you have exhibited in the midst of these rocks, 
are admirable; but they procure you no glory; no brilliancy is 
reflected on you. I desire to lead ycfu into the most fertile 
plains in the world. Rich provinces and great cities will be 
in your power; you will find there, honor, glory, and wealth. 
Soldiers of Italy, will you be wanting in courage and constancy? 

Napoleon's campaigns in Italy revealed his surpassing generalship. 
He soon liberated Lombardy from the yoke of Austria and compelled 
that country to agree to the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797), thus 
bringing the war to an end. England, however, still remained an 
enemy, and Napoleon determined to strike at her through her Oriental 
possessions. The conquest of Egypt, he believed, would be a deadly 
blow to English commerce and might become a stepping-stone to the 
conquest of India. " This little Europe," Napoleon remarked to his 
secretary, " does not supply enough glory for me. I must seek it in 
the East: all great fame comes from that quarter." The Directory 
was easily persuaded to intrust him with a strong expedition, which 
landed in Egypt in 1798. Before the soldiers embarked at Toulon, 
he issued the following proclamation. 

Soldiers, you are one of the wings of the army of England. 
You have fought on mountain and plain and besieged forts; 
it remained for you to wage a maritime war. 

The Roman legions, which you have sometimes imitated 
but not yet equaled, fought against Carthage both by sea and 
on the plains of Zama. Victory never abandoned them, because 
they were constantly brave, patient in the support of fatigue, 
well disciplined, and united. 

Soldiers, Europe has its eyes upon you. 

You have great destinies to fulfill, battles to fight, dangers 
to overcome. You will do more than you have yet accom- 
plished for the prosperity of your country, for the happiness of 
mankind, and for your own glory. 

Sailors, infantry, cavalry, artillery, be united, and remember 
that on the day of battle you will stand in need of each other. . . . 

The French rapidly overran Egypt and organized it as a colony, 
but they could proceed no further with their schemes of conquest. 

Napoleon as Consul 327 

Nelson at the battle of the Nile (1799) destroyed Napoleon's fleet, and 
the Turks repulsed his attack on Syria. Obliged to give up his grandiose 
plans for the foundation of an Eastern Empire, Napoleon began to 
think of returning home, where his services were badly needed. Dur- 
ing his absence in Egypt Austria and Russia had again declared war 
on France, and the Directory had shown itself to. be both corrupt and 
incompetent. At this juncture of affairs Napoleon secretly quitted 
Egypt and made his escape to France. Within a month of his landing 
(1799), he had overthrown the Directory and had become the virtual 
ruler of the French, with the title of First Consul. This position he 
retained for the next five years. 

156. Napoleon as Consul ^ 

The first year of the Consulate saw the withdrawal of Russia from 
the coalition and the crushing of Austria by the battles of Marengo 
and Hohenlinden (1800). Austria now made peace, and in 1802 
England also signed the Treaty of Amiens. With Europe tranquil, 
Napoleon at last had leisure to enter upon those far-reaching reforms 
in government, law, and industry which have helped to immortalize 
his name. An interesting sidelight on the wide range of his intel- 
lectual interests at this time is afforded by his two brief notes to the 
eminent mathematician and astronomer, Laplace. 

I have received with gratitude, citizen, the copy of your fine 
work {La Mecanique celeste 2) which you have just sent me. 
The first six months I can dispose of shall be spent in reading 
it. If you have nothing better to do, come and dine with me 
to-morrow. My respects to Madame Laplace. 

In the second note to Laplace he writes: 

All that I have read of your work appears to me perfectly 
clear. I long to be able to devote a few weeks to finish reading 
it, and I much regret not being able to give it the time and atten- 
tion it deserves. This affords me a new opportunity for be- 
wailing the force of circumstances which have diverted me into 
another career, where I find myself so far removed from the 

1 Bingham, Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 272, 289-290, 291, 407; vol. ii, 
pp. 44-45, 49- 

2 Celestial Mechanics. This famous work, which in the history of science 
ranks second only to Newton's Principia, was published at Paris in four volumes 
between 1799 and 1805. 

328 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

sciences. I thank you for your dedication, which I accept with 
pleasure, and I desire that future generations in reading your 
Mecanique celeste may remember my esteem and friendship for 
the author. 

A private soldier, having written to Napoleon reminding him of his 
services, his wounds, and his devotion, received this reply from the 
First Consul. 

I have received your letter, my gallant Leon. You are the 
bravest grenadier in the army, now that the gallant Benezette 
is dead. You received one of the hundred sabers which I dis- 
tributed to the army. All the soldiers admitted that you were 
the model of the regiment. I greatly wish to see you. The 
War Minister will send you an order. 

When news reached France of the death of Washington, Napoleon 
caused the following Order of the Day to be posted. 

Washington is dead. This great man fought against tyranny. 
He consolidated the liberty of his country. His memory will 
always be dear to the French people, and especially to French 
soldiers, who, like American soldiers, fight for liberty and 

Consequently, the First Consul directs that for the next ten 
days all the standards and pennons of the Republic shall be 
veiled in crape. 

How Napoleon took care to throttle the press and prevent the pub- 
lication of undesirable news is illustrated by the following letter to 
one of his officials. It was written in 1803, when England and France 
were again at war. 

The Dehats has published two articles dated from Ger- 
many. I wish to know whence these articles were derived, and 
who paid for alarming the nation with the echo of rumors spread 
by England. Order the Dehats to contradict these false reports 
in a suitable manner. I am not more satisfied with the politics 
of the Mercure. I wish to know if the brothers Bertin, who 
have been constantly in English pay, own the Dehats and the 
Mercure. Do not conceal the fact that this is the last time 

Napoleon as Emperor 3^9 

I shall make known my displeasure, and that they will next 
learn the disapprobation of the government by the suppression 
of their journals; that I know everything; that the brothers 
Bertin are paid by England, as is proved by the tone of their 
articles; that it is my intention to allow only those journals 
which excite the nation against England and encourage it to 
support the vicissitudes of war, to exist. 

One of the blackest deeds in Napoleon's career was the seizure, 
trial, and summary execution of a young Bourbon prince, the Due 
d'Enghien, on a trumped-up charge of participating in a plot against 
the First Consul's life. The crime excited universal reprobation, even 
in France, but Napoleon, writing in 1804 to Joseph, frankly avowed 
his responsibility for it. 

I cannot repent of my decision with regard to the Due d'En- 
ghien. This was the only means I had of leaving no doubt 
as to my real intentions and of annihilating the hopes of the 
partisans of the Bourbons. Then I cannot conceal the fact 
that I shall never be tranquil on the throne as long as a single 
Bourbon exists, and this Bourbon is one the less. . . . He was 
young, brilliant, brave, and consequently my most redoubt- 
able enemy. It was the sacrifice the most necessary to my 
safety and grandeur. . . . Not only if what I have done were 
still to be done, I would do it again, but if I had a favorable 
opportunity to-morrow of getting rid of the last two scions of 
that family, I would not allow it to escape. 

157. Napoleon as Emperor ^ 

In 1805, the year following Napoleon's coronation as emperor of- 
the French, Austria and Russia joined England in a third coalition 
against France. Napoleon's answer was the capture of a grSat Aus- 
trian army at Ulm and the brilliant victory at Austerlitz, which dazzled 
the world. He describes the battle briefly in a note to Joseph. 

. . . After maneuvering for a few days I fought a decisive 
battle yesterday. I defeated the combined armies commanded 
by the emperors of Russia and Germany. Their force con- 

1 Bingham, Letters and Despatches, vol. ii, pp. 181-182, 249, 364-365; vol. iii, 
pp. 15, 31- 

330 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

sisted of 80,000 Russians and 30,000 Austrians. I have made 
about 40,000 prisoners, taken 40 flags, 100 guns, and all the 
standards of the Russian Imperial Guard. . . . Although I 
have bivouacked in the open air for a week, my health is good. 
This evening I am in bed in the beautiful castle of M. de Kaunitz, 
and have changed my shirt for the first time in eight days. . . . 
The emperor of Germany sent Prince Lichtenstein to me this 
morning to ask for an interview. My army on the field of 
battle was less numerous than the enemy, who was caught while 
executing maneuvers. 

Napoleon's policy of terrorism over the small German states is 
well brought out in an order which he addressed to Talleyrand. 

All the libels spread through Germany come from Nuremberg. 
Tell the senate of that town that if the booksellers are not 
arrested and the libels burned, I shall punish the town before 
leaving Germany. 

At the same time he wrote to Marshal Berthier, saying, 

I suppose that you have arrested the booksellers of Augsburg 
and Nuremberg. Let them be brought before a court-martial 
and shot within twenty-four hours. It is no ordinary crime 
to spread libels in places occupied by the French armies, in 
order to excite the inhabitants against them. . . . 

After Austria, Prussia had next to feel Napoleon's heavy hand. 
The two victories of Jena and Auerstadt beat Prussia to her knees (1806). 
Then came the campaigns against Russia and the battles of Eylau 
and Friedland. The Peace of Tilsit (1807) left Napoleon supreme 
in central and western Europe. But England remained unconquered. 
In a remarkable letter to the Tsar, written early in 1808, Napoleon 
endeavored to secure the aid of Russia for an attack upon the English 
possessions in the East. He made some tempting offers, which, had 
they been accepted by the Russian emperor, might have changed the 
map of Europe and the course of European history. 

. . . You have seen the debates in the English parliament, 
and the decision to carry on the war. I have written to Cau- 
laincourt on this subject, and if your Majesty will condescend 
to speak with him he will acquaint you with my opinion. It 

Napoleon as Emperor 331 

is only by large and vast measures that we shall be able to 
arrive at peace and consolidate our system. Let your Majesty 
augment and fortify your army. I will give you all the help I 
can; no feeling of jealousy animates me against Russia: I 
desire her glory, prosperity and extension. Will your Majesty 
allow a person tenderly and truly devoted to you to give you a 
bit of advice? Your Majesty should drive the Swedes to a 
greater distance from your capital. Extend your frontiers on 
this side as much as you like. 

An army of 50,000 men — Russians, French, and perhaps 
Austrians — marching upon Asia by way of Constantinople, 
would have no sooner reached the Euphrates than England 
would tremble and go down upon her knees. I am ready in 
Dalmatia; your Majesty is ready on the Danube. A month 
after coming to terms an army could be on the Bosporus. The 
blow would reecho through India, and England would be sub- 
dued. I shall refuse none of the preHminary stipulations 
necessary to attain so great an end. But the reciprocal interest 
of our two countries should be combined and balanced. This 
can only be settled in an interview with your Majesty, or after 
sincere conferences between RomanzofT and Caulaincourt, 
and the dispatch here of a man favorable to the system. . . . 

Everything can be signed and decided before the 15 th of 
March. On the ist of May our troops can be in Asia, and 
at the same time the troops of your majesty at Stockholm. 
Then the English, threatened in India, driven from the Levant, 
will be crushed under the weight of events with which the 
atmosphere is laden. Your Majesty and myself would have 
preferred the pleasures of peace and to pass our lives in the 
midst of our vast empires, engaged in vivifying them and 
rendering them happy by means of arts and a beneficent ad- 
ministration. The enemies of the world object to this. We 
must become greater in spite of ourselves. It is both wise and 
politic to do what destiny orders and to go where the irresistible 
march of events leads us. Then this cloud of pygmies will yield 
and will follow the movement which your Majesty and I shall 

332 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

order, and the Russian people will be content with the glory, 
the wealth, and the fortune which will be the result of these 
great events. . . . 

Shortly before Napoleon's departure from Paris to assume command 
of the army of Italy, he had married Josephine de Beauharnais, a dash- 
ing Creole widow, to whom he seems to have been sincerely attached. 
But Josephine brought him no children; and the emperor, who wished 
to found a Napoleonic dynasty, decided to put her away and marry 
again. The divorce took place in December, 1809; in January, 1810 
Napoleon wrote to her in a pathetic strain as follows: 

D'Audenarde, whom I sent to you this morning, tells me 
that you have no courage since you went to Malmaison.^ That 
place, however, must bring back feelings which cannot and 
never ought to change, at least on my side. I long to see you, 
but I must know that you are strong and not weak; I am a little 
so, and this afflicts me terribly. 

Adieu, Josephine! good night. Should you doubt me you 
will be very ungrateful. 

Napoleon's choice for a second wiie fell on the Archduchess Marie 
Louise, a daughter of the Austrian emperor. In March, 1810, a few 
days before the marriage was to be celebrated, Napoleon sent this 
letter to his imperial father-in-law. 

Your Majesty's daughter arrived here two days ago. She 
fulfills all my hopes, and for two days I have not ceased to give 
her and to receive from her proofs of the tender feeling which 
unites us. We agree together perfectly. I shall make her 
happy, and I shall owe your Majesty my happiness. Allow 
me to thank you for the splendid present which you have made 
me, and let your paternal heart rejoice in the assurance of the 
happiness of your darling child. . . . 

158. Decline and Fall of Napoleon 2 

The turning-point in Napoleon's fortunes came with the disastrous 
invasion of Russia (1812-1813). To his immense host, on the road to 

1 A palace near Paris, which Napoleon assigned to Josephine as her residence. 

2 Bingham, Letters and Despatches, vol. iii, pp. 160-161, 191, 293-294, 338-339, 
347, 370-371, 410-411, 414- 

Decline and Fall of Napoleon 333 

Moscow, he addressed a stirring proclamation, the sentiments of which 
contrast strangely with those which he had expressed to the Tsar a 
few years before. 

The second war of Poland has commenced; the first was 
terminated at Friedland and Tilsit. At Tilsit Russia swore 
an eternal alliance with France and war with England. To-day- 
she violates her oaths. She refuses any explanation of her 
strange conduct until the French eagles have repassed the 
Rhine, thus leaving our alhes at her discretion. Russia is 
carried away by fatality; her destinies must be accomplished. 
Does she beheve that we have degenerated? That we are no 
longer the soldiers of Austerlitz? She places us between dis- 
honor and war; the choice cannot be doubtful. Then let us 
march forward; let us pass the Niemen, and let us carry the 
war into her territory. The second Polish war will be as glori- 
ous for the French arms as the first. But the peace which we 
shall conclude shall put an end to the baneful influence exer- 
cised by Russia upon the affairs of Europe during the last 
fifty years. 

The horrors of the retreat from Moscow could not be concealed. 
Even the emperor, in a letter to his Minister of Foreign Affairs, was 
obliged to disclose the real situation. 

We are terribly fatigued and half starved. Send bread, 
meat, and brandy to meet us. I have one hundred thousand 
stragglers who are trying to Uve, and who are no longer under 
the colors. This causes us to run horrible dangers. My Old 
Guard alone maintains its ranks, but hunger is gaining in it. 
My heavy* baggage started last night for Vilna. Hold your- 
self in readiness to come and meet me. . . . Speak with confidence, 
and do not let anything happen. Ten days' repose and pro- 
visions in abundance will reestablish discipline. . . . 

After the collapse of the Russian expedition Prussia, Austria, Sweden, 
and England formed another coalition against Napoleon, The deci- 
sive battle at Leipzig (1813) compelled him to retreat from Germany 
into France. Even at this critical stage of affairs the allies would 
have made a lasting peace with Napoleon, had he been ready to give 

334 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

up his claims to the overlordship of Europe. Napoleon's attitude 
toward their proposals is set forth in a letter (January, 1814) to his 
trusted minister, Caulaincourt. 

I consider it doubtful if the allies are acting in good faith, 
and if England desires peace. For myself I desire only a solid 
and honorable peace. France without her natural limits, 
without Ostend and Antwerp, would not be on an equal foot- 
ing with the other states of Europe. England and all the powers 
recognized these limits at Frankfort.^ The conquests of France 
within the Rhine and the Alps cannot be considered as a com- 
pensation for what Austria, Russia, and Prussia have acquired 
in Poland and Finland, and England in Asia. The policy of 
England and the hatred of the emperor of Russia will carry 
the day with Austria. I have accepted the basis of Frank- 
fort, but it is probable that the allies have other ideas. Their 
propositions have been merely a mask. . . . 

It is not certain that you will be received at headquarters; 
the Russians and the EngHsh wish to prevent all conciliation 
and explanation with the emperor of Austria. You must 
try and fathom the views of the alhes, and you must let me know 
day by day what you learn, so that I may be in a position to 
furnish you with instructions. Do they wish to reduce France 
to her ancient limits? This would be to degrade her. They 
are mistaken if they think the misfortunes of war can make 
the nation desire such a peace. . . . Italy is intact, the Viceroy 
has a fine army. Before a week I shall have assembled a suffi- 
cient force to fight several battles, even before the arrival of 
my troops from Spain. The depredations of the Cossacks 
will arm the inhabitants and will double our forces. If the 
nation supports me, the enemy will march to their destruction. 
Should fortune betray me, my mind is made up; I do not care 
for the throne. I shall not disgrace the nation or myself by 
accepting shameful conditions. You must find out what 

1 The Tsar and the king of Prussia had made a declaration that the allies would 
leave to Napoleon the "natural boundaries" of France — the Rhine, Alps, Pyrenees, 
and Atlantic Ocean. Napoleon's, assent to these terms came too late. 

Decline and Fall of Napoleon 335 

Metternich wishes. It is not in the interests of Austria to 
push matters to extremes. . . . 

Napoleon's campaigns during the early months of 1814 against the 
overwhelming forces of the coalition are justly celebrated. In spite 
of his brilliant victories, the allies pushed nearer and nearer to Paris. 
On March 16, Napoleon, now almost at the end of his resources, wrote 
as follows to Joseph. 

In conformity with the verbal instructions which I gave 
you, and with the spirit of my letters, you must, under no cir- 
cumstances, allow the empress and the king of Rome^ to fall 
into the hands of the enemy. I am going to maneuver in such 
a way that you will possibly have no news of me for several 
days. If the enemy advance upon Paris in such strength that 
resistance is impossible, send away the Regent, my son, the 
high dignitaries, the ministers, the ofificers of the Senate, the 
presidents of the Council of State, the grand officers of the 
crown, the Baron de la Bouillerie, and the treasure. Do 
not abandon my son, and remember that I would sooner have 
him in the Seine than in the hands of the enemies of France. 
The fate of Astyanax,^ prisoner among the Greeks, has always 
appeared to me as the most unfortunate in history. 

On March 31, Paris surrendered to the aUies. Twelve days later 
Napoleon signed at the palace of Fontainebleau an act of abdication. 

The allied Powers having proclaimed that the emperor 
Napoleon Bonaparte is the only obstacle to the reestablish- 
ment of peace in Europe, the emperor, faithful to his oath, 
declares that he renounces, for himself and his heirs, the thrones 
of France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, 
even that of his life, which he is not ready to make in the interest 
of France. 

After Napoleon's escape from Elba he addressed the following cir- 
cular letter to the sovereigns of Europe. 

You will have learned of my return to France, my entry into 
Paris, and the departure of the Bourbons. The true nature 

1 Napoleon's son by Marie Louise. 

2 Astyanax, Hector's son, was captured by the Greeks after the fall of Troy. 

336 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

of these events must now be known to your majesties. They 
are the work of an irresistible force, the work of the unanimous 
will of a great nation which understands its duties and its 
rights. The dynasty which was forced on the French nation 
was not suited to it. The Bourbons would associate themselves 
neither with its feelings nor its customs. France was obliged 
to separate herself from them. She demanded a liberator. 
... I returned, and from the spot where I landed the love 
of my people bore me to the bosom of my capital. The first 
desire of my heart is to repay so much affection by maintain- 
ing an honorable tranquillity. The reestablishment of the 
imperial throne was necessary for the happiness of Frenchmen. 
My fondest hope is to render it at the same time useful in 
consolidating the repose of Europe. . . . After having exhibited 
to the world the spectacle of great battles, it will be more 
satisfactory henceforth to indulge in nothing but peaceful rivalry, 
in no other strife but that sacred strife waged for the welfare 
of the people. . . . 

After the battle of Waterloo Napoleon made this declaration to the 
French nation. 

In declaring war in defense of the national independence, 
I reckoned upon the united efforts and the good will of every 
one, and upon the aid of all the national authorities. I had 
reasons to hope for success, and I consequently braved all the 
declarations of the Powers against me. 

Circumstances appear to be changed. 

I offer myself as a sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of 
France. May they be sincere in their declarations that they 
have borne enmity to my person alone. 

My poUtical career is terminated, and I proclaim my son, 
under the title of Napoleon II, emperor of the French. 

The present ministers will form a provisional government. 
The interest which I bear my son prompts me to invite the 
Chambers to organize the Regency without delay. 

Having once more abdicated the French throne, nothing remained 
for Napoleon but to make his escape from France. He hoped to reach 

Napoleon's Will 337 

the United States, but British warships barred the way. At length 
he gave himself up to the commander of the Bellerophon, at the same 
time sending the following appeal to the Prince Regent of England. 

Exposed to the factions which divide my country and to 
the enmity of the Powers of Europe, I have terminated my 
pohtical career, and I come, like Themistocles,^ to seat myself 
at the hearth of the British people. I place myself beneath 
the protection of their laws, which protection I claim from 
your Royal Highness as the most powerful, the most constant, 
and the most generous of my enemies. 

159. Napoleon's Will 2 

Napoleon's will, executed shortly before his death at St. Helena 
in 1 82 1, is a document of much interest. Some characteristic passages 

''I die in the Roman religion, in the bosom of which I was 
born more than fifty years ago. 

''I desire that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, 
in the midst of the French people I loved so well. 

"I have always had reason to be pleased with my dearest 
wife, Marie Louise. I preserve the most tender affection for 
her to the last moment. I implore her to watch over my son 
in order to preserve him from the snares which may surround 
his infancy. 

'^I recommend my son never to forget that he was born a 
French prince, and never to allow himself to become an instru- 
ment in the hands of the triumvirs who oppress the nations of 
Europe; h^e must never fight against France or do her any 
harm. He should adopt my motto, Everything for the French 
people I 

"I die prematurely, assassinated by the EngHsh ohgarchy. 
The English nation will not be slow in avenging me. 

1 Themistocles, the Athenian statesman, having been exiled from Athens, 
took refuge at the court of Persia. Here he was received kindly by the son of Xerxes. 

2 Bingham, Letters and Despatches, iii, 426-427. 

338 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

"The unfortunate result of the two invasions of France, 
when she had still so many resources left, is to be attributed 
to the treason of Marmont, Augereau, Talleyrand, and La- 

"I forgive them, and may French posterity also pardon 
them " 



The Austrian diplomat, Prince Metternich, at his 
death in 1859, left a mass of letters, documents, and 
personal recollections of his career. In the complete 
edition, prepared for publication by his son, they extend 
to eight volumes. No part of the work is of greater 
interest than that which presents his opinions of Napo- 
leon. With the French emperor Metternich was thrown 
in intimate contact after 1806, when he took up his res- 
idence in Paris as ambassador. ''I have seen and 
studied Napoleon," writes Metternich, ''in the moments 
of his greatest success; I have seen and followed him in 
those of his decline; and though he may have attempted 
to induce me to form wrong conclusions about him — • as 
it was often his interest to do — he never succeeded. 

1 may then flatter myself with having seized the essen- 
tial traits of his character, and with having formed an 
impartial judgment with respect to it, while the great 
majority of his contemporaries have seen, as it were 
through a prism, only the brilliant sides and the defec- 
tive or evil sides of a man whom the force of circumstances 
and great personal qualities raised to a height of power 
unexampled in modern history." 

160. Mental Characteristics 2 

In my relations with Napoleon, relations which from the 
beginning I endeavored to make frequent and confidential, 

1 Memoirs of Prince Metternich, 177 3-1 8 15, translated by Mrs. Alexander Napier. 

2 vols. New York, 1880. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Metternich, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 271-275. 

340 Napoleon 

what at first struck me most was the remarkable perspicuity 
and grand simpHcity of his mind and its processes. Conver- 
sation with him always had a charm for me, difficult to define. 
Seizing the essential point of subjects, stripping them of useless 
accessories, developing his thought and never ceasing to elabo- 
rate it till he had made it perfectly clear and conclusive, always 
finding the fitting word for the thing, or inventing one where 
the usage of the language had not created it, his conversation 
was ever full of interest. He did not converse, he talked; by 
the wealth of his ideas and the facility of his elocution, he was 
able to lead the conversation, and one of his habitual expres- 
sions was, "I see what you want; you wish to come to such or 
such a point; well, let us go straight to it." 

Yet he did not fail to listen to the remarks and objections 
which were addressed to him; he accepted them, questioned 
them, or opposed them, without losing the tone or overstepping 
the bounds of a business discussion, and I have never felt the 
least difficulty in saying to him what I believed to be the truth, 
even when it was not likely to please him. . . . 

He had little scientific knowledge, although his partisans 
encouraged the belief that he was a profound mathematician. 
His knowledge of mathematical science would not have raised 
him above the level of any officer destined, as he was himself, 
for the artillery; but his natural abilities supplied the want 
of knowledge. He became a legislator and administrator, as 
he became a great soldier, by following his own instinct. The 
turn of his mind always led him toward the positive; he dis- 
liked vague ideas, and hated equally the dreams of visionaries 
and the abstraction of idealists, and treated as mere nonsense 
everything that was not clearly and practically presented to 
him. He valued only those sciences which can be controlled 
and verified by the senses or which rest on observation and 
experience. He had the greatest contempt for the false phi- 
losophy and the false philanthropy of the eighteenth century. 
Among the chief teachers of these doctrines, Voltaire v/as the 
special object of his aversion, and he even went so far as to 

Political Ideas 341 

attack, whenever he had the opportunity, the general opinion 
as to Voltaire's literary power. 

Napoleon was not irreUgious in the ordinary sense of the 
word. ... A Christian and a Catholic, he recognized in religion 
.alone the right to govern human societies. He looked on 
Christianity as the basis of all real civilization; and considered 
Catholicism as the form of worship most favorable to the 
maintenance of order and the true tranquillity of the moral 
world; Protestantism as a source of trouble and disagreements. 
Personally indifferent to rehgious practices, he respected them 
too much to permit the slightest ridicule of those who followed 
them. , . . 

He was gifted with a particular tact for recognizing those 
men who could be useful to him. He discovered in them very 
quickly the side by which he could best attach them to his 
interest. . . . He had, aboye all, studied the national character 
of the French, and the history of his life proved that he had 
understood it rightly. He privately regarded the Parisians 
as children, and often compared Paris to the opera. Having 
reproached him one day with the palpable falsehoods which 
formed the chief part of his bulletins, he said to me with a 
smile, "They are not written for you; the Parisians believe 
everything, and I might tell them a great deal more which they 
would not refuse to accept." 

161. Politicalldeas 1 

It frequently happened that he turned his conversation into 
historical discussions. These discussions generally revealed 
his imperfect knowledge of facts, but an extreme sagacity in 
appreciating causes and foreseeing consequences. He guessed 
more than he knew, and, while lending to persons and events 
the color of his own mind, he explained them in an ingenious 
manner. As he always made use of the same quotations, he 
must have drawn from a very few books, and those principally 
abridgments, the most salient points of ancient history and 

1 Metternich, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 275-277. 

342 Napoleon 

the history of France. He, however, charged his memory 
with a collection of names and facts sufficiently copious to 
impose on those whose studies had been still less thorough than 
his own. His heroes were Alexander, Caesar, and, above all, 
Charlemagne. He was singularly occupied with his claim to. 
be the successor of Charlemagne by right and title. He would 
lose himself in interminable discussions with me in endeavoring 
to sustain this paradox by the feeblest reasoning. . . . 

One thing which he always regretted extremely was, that 
he could not invoke the principle of Legitimacy as the basis 
of his power. Few men have been so profoundly conscious 
as he was that authority deprived of this foundation is pre- 
carious, fragile, and open to attack. He never lost an oppor- 
tunity of anxiously protesting against those who imagined that 
he occupied the throne as a usurper. "The throne of France," 
he said to me once, '-'was vacant. Louis XVI had not been 
able to maintain himself. If I had been in his place, the Revo- 
lution — notwithstanding the immense progress it had made 
in men's minds during the preceding reign — would never have 
been consummated. The king overthrown, the Republic 
was master of the soil of France. It is that which I have re- 
placed. The old throne of France is buried under its rubbish; 
I had to found a new one. The Bourbons could not reign 
over this creation. My strength lies in my fortune: I am new, 
like the Empire; there is, therefore, a perfect homogeneity 
between the Empire and myself." . . . 

He was also much impressed with the idea of the divine 
origin of supreme authority. He said to me one day, shortly 
after his marriage with the archduchess, "I see that the empress, 
in writing to her father, addresses her letter to His Sacred and 
Imperial Majesty. Is this title customary with you?" I told 
him that it was, from the tradition of the old German Empire, 
which bore the title of the Holy Empire, and because it was 
also attached to the Apostolic crown of Hungary. Napoleon 
then replied, in a grave tone, ''It is a fine custom, and a good 
expression. Power comes from God, and it is that alone which 

Personality 343 

places it beyond the attacks of men. Hence I shall adopt 
the title some day." . . . 

162. Personality 1 

Napoleon looked upon himself as a being isolated from the 
rest of the world, made to govern it, and to direct every one 
according to his own will. He had no more regard for men 
than a foreman in a manufactory feels for his workpeople. 
The person to whom he was most attached was Duroc. "He 
loves me as a dog loves his master," was the expression he 
used in speaking to me about him. Berthier's feeling for him 
he compared to that of a child's nurse. These comparisons, 
far from being opposed to his theory of the motives which actuate 
men, were the natural consequence of it, for where he met with 
sentiments which he could not explain simply by self-interest, 
he attributed them to a kind of instinct. 

Much has been said of Napoleon's superstition, and almost 
as much of his want of personal bravery. Both of these accusa- 
tions rest either on false ideas or mistaken observations. Napo- 
leon believed in fortune, and who has made the trial of it that 
he has? He liked to boast of his good star; he was very glad 
that the common herd was willing to believe him to be a privi- 
leged being; but he did not deceive himself about himself. 
What is more, he did not care to grant too large a share to for- 
tune in considering his elevation. I have often heard him say, 
"They call me lucky, because I am able; it is weak men who 
accuse the strong of good fortune." 

In private life, without being amiable, he was good-natured, 
and even carried indulgence to the point of weakness. A good 
son and good kinsman, with those little peculiarities that are 
met with more particularly in the family interiors of the Italian 
bourgeoisie, he allowed the extravagant courses of some of his 
relations without using sufficient strength of will to stop them, 
even when it would have been clearly to his interest to do so. 

1 Metternich, Memoircs, vol. i, pp. 277-280. 

344 Napoleon 

His sisters, in particular, got from him everything that they 

Neither of his wives ever had anything to complain of from 
Napoleon's personal manners. Although the fact is well 
known already, a saying of the Archduchess Marie Louise 
will put it in a new light. "I am sure," she said to me some 
time after her marriage, "that they think a great deal about 
me in Vienna, and that the general opinion is that I hve a life 
of daily suffering. So true is it that truth is often not probable. 
I have no fear of Napoleon, but I begin to think that he is 
afraid of me." 

Simple and even easy as he was in private life, he showed 
himself to little advantage in the great world. It is difficult 
to imagine anything more awkward than Napoleon's manner 
in a drawing room. The pains which he took to correct the 
faults of his nature and education only served to make his 
deficiencies more evident. I am satisfied that he would have 
made great sacrifices to add to his height and give dignity to 
his appearance, which became more common in proportion 
as his embonpoint increased. He walked by preference on tip- 
toe. His costumes were studied to form a contrast by com- 
parison with the circle which surrounded him, either by their 
extreme simplicity or by their extreme magnificence. It is 
certain that he made Talma come to teach him particular atti- 
tudes. He showed much favor to this actor, and his affection 
was greatly founded on the likeness which really existed between 
them. He liked very much to see Talma on the stage; it 
might be said, in fact, that he saw himself reproduced. Out 
of his mouth there never came one graceful or even a well- 
turned speech to a woman, although the effort to make one was 
often expressed on his face and in the sound of his voice. . . . 

163. Place in History i 

In order to judge of this extraordinary man, we must follow 
him upon the grand theater for which he was born. Fortune 
1 Metternich, Memoires, vol. i, pp. 281-286. 

Place in History 345 

had no doubt done much for Napoleon; but by the force of his 
character, the activity and lucidity of his mind, and by his 
genius for the great combinations of mihtary science, he had 
risen to the level of the position which she had destined for 
him. Having but one passion, that of power, he never lost 
either his time or his means on those objects which might have 
diverted him from his aim. Master of himself, he soon became 
master of men and events. In whatever time he had appeared, 
he would have played a prominent part. But the epoch when 
he first entered on his career was particularly fitted to facili- 
tate his elevation. Surrounded by individuals who, in the midst 
of a world in ruins, walked at random without any fixed guid- 
ance, given up to all kinds of ambition and greed, he alone 
was able to form a plan, hold it fast, and conduct it to its con- 
clusion. It was in the course of the second campaign in Italy 
that he conceived the one which was to carry him to the summit 
of power. "When I was young," he said to me, "I was revo- 
lutionary from ignorance and ambition. At the age of reason, 
I have followed its counsels and my own instinct, and I crushed 
the Revolution." 

He was so accustomed to think of himself as necessary for 
the maintenance of the system he had created that at last he 
no longer understood how the world could go on without him. 
I have no doubt that he spoke from a deep and thorough con- 
viction when, in our conversation at Dresden in 181 3, he said 
to me these very words, ''I shall perish, perhaps; but in my 
fall I shall drag down thrones, and with them the whole of 

The prodigious successes of which his life was full had doubt- 
less ended by blinding him; but up to the time of the cam- 
paign of 181 2, when he for the first time succumbed under 
the weight of illusions, he never lost sight of the profound cal- 
culations by which he had so often conquered. Even after the 
disaster of Moscow, we have seen him defend himself with as 
much coolness as energy, and the campaign of 1814 was cer- 
tainly the one in which he displayed most military talent, and 

346 Napoleon 

that with much reduced means. I have never been among those 
— and their number was considerable — who thought that 
after the events of 18 14 and 181 5 he tried to create a new 
career, by descending to the part of an adventurer, and by giving 
in to the most romantic projects. His character and the turn 
of his mind made him despise all that was petty. Like great 
gamblers, instead of being pleased with the chances of a petty 
game, they would have filled him with disgust. 

It has often been asked whether Napoleon was radically 
good or bad. I have always thought that these epithets, as 
they are generally understood, are not applicable to a character 
such as his. Constantly occupied with one sole object, given 
up day and night to the task of holding the helm of an empire 
which, by progressive encroachments, had finished by includ- 
ing the interests of a great part of Europe, he never recoiled 
from fear of the wounds he might cause, nor even from the 
immense amount of individual suffering inseparable from the 
execution of his projects. As a war chariot crushes everything 
which it meets on its way. Napoleon thought of nothing but 
to advance. He took no notice of those who had not been 
on their guard; he was sometimes tempted to accuse them of 
stupidity. Unmoved by anything which was out of his path, 
he did not concern himself with it for good or evil. He could 
sympathize with family troubles, he was indifferent to political 
calamities. . . . 

Napoleon had two aspects. As a private man, he was easy 
tempered and tractable, without being either good or bad. 
In his public capacity he admitted no sentiment; he was 
never influenced either by affection or by hatred. He crushed 
or removed his enemies, without thinking of anything but the 
necessity or advisability of getting rid of them. This object 
gained, he forgot them entirely and injured them no more. . . . 

The opinion of the world is still divided, and perhaps will 
always be, on the question whether Napoleon did in fact 
deserve to be called a great man. It would be impossible to 
dispute the great qualities of one who, rising from obscurity, 

Place in History 347 

became in a few years the strongest and most powerful of his 
contemporaries. But strength, power, and superiority are 
more or less relative terms. To appreciate properly the degree 
of genius which has been required for a man to dominate his 
age, it is necessary to have the measure of that age. This is 
the point from which opinions with regard to Napoleon diverge 
so essentially. If the era of the Revolution was, as its admirers 
think, the most brilliant, the most glorious epoch of modern 
history, Napoleon, who was able to take the first place in it, 
and to keep it for fifteen years, was certainly one of the greatest 
men who have ever appeared. If, on the contrary, he had 
only to move like a meteor above the mists of a general dissolu- 
tion; if he had found nothing around him but the debris of a 
social condition ruined by the excess of false civiUzation; if 
he had only to combat a resistance weakened by universal 
lassitude, feeble rivalries, ignoble passions, in fact, adversaries 
everywhere disunited and paralyzed by their disagreements, 
the splendor of his success diminishes with the facility with 
which he obtained it. Now, as in our opinion," this was really 
the state of things, we are in no danger of exaggerating the 
idea of Napoleon's grandeur, though acknowledging that there 
was something extraordinary and imposing in his career. 

The vast edifice which he constructed was exclusively the 
work of his hands, and he was himself the keystone of the 
arch. But this gigantic construction was essentially wanting in 
its foundation; the materials of which it was composed were 
nothing but the ruins of other buildings; some were rotten from 
decay, others had never possessed any consistency from their 
very beginning. The keystone of the arch has been withdrawn, 
and the whole edifice has fallen in. 

Such is, in a few words, the history of the French Empire, 
Conceived and created by Napoleon, it only existed in him; 
and with him it was extinguished. 



After Bismarck's dismissal in 1890 from the office of 
German Chancellor, he gave much time to the prepara- 
tion of his memoirs. The groundwork of the first draft 
consisted of shorthand notes taken down at his dictation. 
These he carefully revised and supplemented with ad- 
ditions in his own hand. The manuscript was then 
privately printed and in this shape was subjected to ad- 
ditional revision and verification. We can be sure that 
the memoirs in their final form are exactly as Bismarck 
wished to leave them. They were not given to the world 
till 1898, a few months after their author's death. 

164. " Blood and Iron » 2 

William I, on becoming regent of Prussia in 1858 and king three 
years later, surrounded himself with that group of brilliant men whose 
labors did so much to create modern Germany. As chief of the general 
staff of the army he appointed Helmuth von Moltke, as war minister 
he named Albrecht von Roon, and in 1862 he summoned Bismarck 
to be his minister-president and foreign minister. Bismarck's duty 
was to carry on the government against the wishes of the Prussian 
parliament, which did not approve William's policy of building up a 
large and efhcient army. In the following narrative Bismarck explains 
how he strengthened the king's resolution at a time when there seemed 
to be danger of a revolution in Prussia. 

In the beginning of October, 1862, 1 went as far as Jiiterbogk 
to meet the king, who had been at Baden-Baden for September 

1 Bismarck the Man and the Statesman. Being the Reflections and Reminis- 
cences of Otto, Prince von Bismarck, translated by A. J. Butler. 3 vols. Leipzig, 
1899. Bernhard Tauchnitz. 

2 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. i, pp. 74-77. 

"Blood and Iron" 349 

30, his wife's birthday, and waited for him in the still unfinished 
railway station, filled with third-class travelers and workmen. 
My object, in taking this opportunity for an interview, was to 
set his Majesty at rest about a speech made by me in the Budget 
Commission on September 30, which had aroused some excite- 
ment, and which, though not taken down in shorthand, had 
still been reproduced with tolerable accuracy in the newspapers. 

For people who were less embittered and blinded by ambi- 
tion, I had indicated plainly enough the direction in which I 
was going. Prussia — such was the point of my speech — as 
a glance at the map will show, could no longer wear unaided 
on its long narrow figure the panoply which Germany required for 
its security; that must be equally distributed over all German 
peoples. We should get no nearer the goal by speeches, asso- 
ciations, decisions of majorities; we should be unable to avoid 
a serious contest, a contest which could only be settled by blood 
and iron. In order to secure our success in this, the deputies 
must place the greatest possible weight of blood and iron in 
the hands of the king of Prussia, in order that, according to 
his judgment, he might throw it into one scale or the other. . . . 

Roon, who was present, expressed his dissatisfaction with 
my remarks on our way home, and said, among other things, 
that he did not regard these "witty digressions" as advanta- 
geous for our cause. For my part, I was torn between the de- 
sire of winning over members to an energetic national policy, 
and the danger of inspiring the king, whose own disposition 
was cautious and shrank from violent measures, with mis- 
trust in me and my intentions. My object in going to meet 
him at Jiiterbogk was to counteract betimes the probable 
effect of press criticisms. 

I had some difficulty in discovering from the curt answers 
of the officials the section in the ordinary train in which the 
king was seated by himself in an ordinary first-class carriage. 
The after-effect of his conversation with his wife was an obvious 
depression, and when I begged for permission to narrate the 
events which had occurred during his absence, he interrupted 

350 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

me with the words, "I can perfectly well see where all this will 
end. Over there, in front of the Opera House, under my 
windows, they will cut off your head, and mine a little while 

I guessed, and it was afterwards confirmed by witnesses, 
that during his week's stay at Baden-Baden his mind had been 
worked upon with variations on the theme of Polignac,^ Straf- 
ford,^ and Louis XVI. ^ When he was silent, I answered with 
the short remark, '' Et apres, Sire?'' "Apres, indeed; we shall 
be dead," answered the king. "Yes," I continued, "then 
we shall be dead; but we must all die sooner or later, and can 
we perish more honorably? I, fighting for my king's cause, 
and your Majesty sealing with your own blood your rights 
as king by the grace of God; whether on the scaffold or the 
battlefield, makes no difference in the glory of sacrificing life 
and limb for the rights assigned to you by the grace of God. 
Your Majesty must not think of Louis XVI ; he lived and died 
in a condition of mental weakness, and does not present a 
heroic figure in history. Charles I, on the other hand, will 
always remain a noble historical character, for after drawing 
his sword for his rights and losing the battle, he did not hesi- 
tate to confirm his royal intent with his blood. Your Majesty 
is bound to fight, you cannot capitulate; j^ou must, even at the 
risk of bodily danger, go forth to meet any attempt at coercion." 

As I continued to speak in this sense, the king grew more 
and more animated, and began to assume the part of an officer 
fighting for kingdom and fatherland. In presence of external 
and personal danger he possessed a rare and absolutely natural 
fearlessness, whether on the field of battle or in the face of at- 
tempts on his life; his attitude in any external danger was 
elevating and inspiring. The ideal type of the Prussian officer 
who goes to meet certain death in the service with the simple 
words, "At your orders," but who, if he has to act on his own 

1 One of the French ministers held responsible for the policy which led to the 
deposition of Charles X and the revolution of July, 1830. 

2 See page 251. ? See page 315. 

The Schleswig-Holstein Question 351 

responsibility, dreads the criticism of his superior officer or of the 
world more than death, even to the extent of allowing his energy 
and correct judgment to be impaired by the fear of blame and 
reproof — this type was developed in him to the highest degree. 
... To give up his life for king and fatherland was the duty of 
an officer; still more that of a king, as the first officer in the land. 
As soon as he regarded his position from the point of view of 
military honor, it had no more terror for him than the command 
to defend what might prove a desperate position would have 
for any ordinary Prussian officer. This raised him above the 
anxiety about the criticism which public opinion, history, and 
his wife might pass on his political tactics. . . . The correct- 
ness of my 'judgment was confirmed by the fact that the king, 
whom I had found at Jiiterbogk weary, depressed, and dis- 
couraged, had, even before we arrived at Berlin, developed 
a cheerful, I might almost say joyous and combative disposition, 
which was plainly evident to the ministers and officials who 
received him on his arrival. 

185. The Schleswig-Holstein Question ^ 

When the Prussian parliament refused to grant appropriations for 
the enlarged army, Bismarck, with the king's consent, proceeded to 
govern the country by unconstitutional means. Taxes were arbi- 
trarily levied and collected, and the necessary mihtary reforms were 
then carried into effect. Meanwhile, fresh difhculties arose over the 
so-called Schleswig-Holstein question. These two duchies, though 
largely peopled by Germans, belonged to the crown of Denmark. 
On the death of the Danish king, Frederick VII, in 1863, Prince Frede- 
rick of Augustenburg came forward as a claimant for the duchies. 
His claims were strongly supported by the whole German nation, 
which desired to relieve the duchies from a foreign yoke. Bismarck, 
however, wanted to secure the duchies for Prussia, rather than allow 
them to become one more independent German state. With Aus- 
tria as an ally, Bismarck in 1864 declared war on Denmark, not in 
support of Augustenburg, but on the ground that the Danish king 
was oppressing his German subjects. The unequal struggle soon 
ended with the surrender by Denmark of Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia 
and Austria. 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 188-189. 

352 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

The gradations which appeared attainable in the Schleswig- 
Holstein question, every one of them meaning for the duchies 
an advance to something better than the existing conditions, 
culminated, in my judgment, in the acquisition of the duchies 
by Prussia, a view which I expressed in a council held immedi- 
ately after the death of Frederick VII. I reminded the king 
that every one of his immediate ancestors, not even excepting 
his brother, had won an increment of territory for the state: 
Frederick William IV had acquired HohenzoUern and the 
Jahde district; Frederick WilHam III, the Rhine province; 
Frederick WilUam II, Poland; Frederick II, Silesia; Frederick 
William I, old Hither Pomerania; the Great Elector, Further 
Pomerania and Magdeburg, Minden, etc., and I 'encouraged 
him to do likewise. . . . 

If the utmost we aimed at could not be reahzed, we might 
have gone as far as the introduction of the Augustenburg 
dynasty and the establishment of a new middle state, provided 
the Prussian and German national interests had been put on a 
sure footing — these interests to be protected by what was the 
essential part of the subsequent conditions — that is, a mih- 
. tary convention, Kiel as a harbor, and the Baltic and North 
Sea canal. 

Even if, taking into consideration the European situation 
and the wish of the king, this had not been attainable without 
the isolation of Prussia from all the Great Powers, including 
Austria — the question was in what way, whether under the 
form of a personal union or under some other, a provisional 
settlement was attainable as regards the duchies, which must 
in any case be an improvement in their position. From the 
very beginning I kept annexation steadily before my eyes. 

166. Peace with Austria ^ 

As Bismarck anticipated, the Danish War led to a quarrel between 
Austria and Prussia about the disposition of the conquered duchies. 
Austria wanted to hand them over to Augustenburg, but Bismarck 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 227-234. 

Peace with Austria 353 

would not consent to this arrangement. The question was tempo- 
rarily settled by Prussia taking Schleswig and Austria, Holstein. 
Bismarck now made ready for war with Austria. Only by force, he 
believed, could that power be displaced from German politics and a 
new Germany be built up about Prussia. The first step was to isolate 
Austria from foreign support. This Bismarck did by securing the 
friendly neutrality of France and by arranging a treaty of alliance 
with Italy. The second step was to find a good pretext for attacking 
Austria. Here also Bismarck's clever diplomacy accomplished its 
purpose. In the Seven Weeks' War, which followed, Austria suffered 
the decisive defeat of Sadowa and at once sued for peace. Bismarck 
at this time showed the foresight of a true statesman. Having brought 
about the war for a purpose, namely, the exclusion of Austria from 
Germany, he held that Prussia should not humble her adversary fur- 
ther by taking any Austrian territory. Austria, Bismarck reasoned, 
might become a valuable ally in the near future, if she were now treated 
with moderation. 

I was firmly resolved, in consequence of the above considera- 
tions, to make a cabinet question of the acceptance of the peace 
offered by Austria. The position was difficult. All the generals 
shared the disinclination to break off the uninterrupted course 
of victory; and during these days the king was more often 
and more readily accessible to military influences than to 
mine. I was the only person at headquai*ters who was politi- 
cally responsible as a minister and forced by the exigencies of 
the situation to form an opinion and come to a decision with- 
out being able to lay the responsibility for the result upon any 
other authority. ... I was just as little able as anyone to fore- 
see what shape future events would take, and the consequent 
judgment of the world; but I was the only one present who 
was under a legal obligation to hold, to utter, and to defend 
an opinion. This opinion I had formed after careful considera- 
tion of the future of our position in Germany and our rela- 
tions to Austria; and was ready to be responsible for it and to 
defend it before the king. . . . 

On July 23, 1866, under the presidency of the king, a council 
of war was held, in which the question to be decided was whether 
we should make peace under the conditions offered or continue 

354 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

the war. A painful illness from which I was suffering made 
it necessary that the council should be held in my room. On 
this occasion I was the only civilian in uniform. I declared 
it to be my conviction that peace must be concluded on the 
Austrian terms, but remained alone in my opinion; the king 
supported the military majority. My nerves could not stand 
the strain which had been put upon them day and night; I 
got up in silence, walked into my adjoining bedchamber, and 
was there overcome by a violent paroxysm of tears. Mean- 
while, I heard the council dispersing in the next room. I 
thereupon set to work to commit to paper the reasons which 
in my opinion spoke for the conclusion of peace; and begged 
the king, in the event of his not accepting the advice for which 
I was responsible, to relieve me of my functions as minister if 
the war were continued. With this document I set out on the 
following day to explain it by word of mouth. In the ante- 
chamber I found two colonels with a report on the spread of 
cholera among their troops, barely half of whom were fit for 
service. The alarming figures confirmed my resolve to make 
the acceptance of the Austrian terms a cabinet question. . . . 
Armed with my document, I unfolded to the king the polit- 
ical and military reasons which opposed the continuation of 
the war. 

We had to avoid wounding Austria too severely; we had to 
avoid leaving behind in her any unnecessary bitterness of feel- 
ing or desire for revenge; we ought rather to reserve the possi- 
bility of becoming friends again with our adversary of the 
moment, and in any case to regard the Austrian state as a piece 
on the European chessboard and the renewal of friendly rela- 
tions with her as a move open to us. If Austria were severely 
injured, she would become the ally of France and of every other 
opponent of ours; she would even sacrifice her anti-Russian 
interests for the sake of revenge on Prussia. . . . 

To all this the king raised no objection, but declared the 
actual terms inadequate, without, however, definitely formulat- 
ing his own demands. ... He said that the chief culprit could 

Peace with Austria 355 

not be allowed to escape unpunished, and that justice once 
satisfied, we could let the misguided partners off more easily, 
and he insisted on the cessions of territory from Austria. I 
rephed that we were not there to sit in judgment, but to pur- 
sue the German poHcy. Austria's conflict in rivalry with us 
was no more culpable than ours with her; our task was the 
estabhshment or initiation of German national unity under 
the leadership of the king of Prussia. . . . 

What seemed to me to be paramount with his Majesty was 
the aversion of the miUtary party to interrupt the victorious 
course of the army. The resistance which I was obhged, in 
accordance with my convictions, to offer to the king's views with 
regard to following up the mihtary successes, and to his inclina- 
tion to continue the victorious advance, excited him to such a 
degree that a prolongation of the discussion became impossi- 
ble; and, under the impression that my opinion was rejected, I 
left the room with the idea of begging the king to allow me, in 
my capacity of officer, to join my regiment. On returning to 
my room I was in the mood that the thought occurred to me 
whether it would not be better to fall out of the open window, 
which was four stories high; and did not look round when I 
heard the door open, although I suspected that the person 
entering was the Crown Prince,^ whose room in the same corridor 
I had just passed. I felt his hand on my shoulder, while he 
said, ''You know that I was against this war. You considered 
it necessary, and the responsibility for it lies on you. If you 
are now persuaded that our end is attained, and peace must 
now be concluded, I am ready to support you and defend your 
opinion with my father." 

He then repaired to the king, and came back after a short 
half-hour, in the same calm, friendly mood, but with the words, 
"It has been a very difficult business, but my father has con- 
sented." This consent found expression in a note written with a 
lead pencil upon the margin of one of my last memoranda, 

1 Afterwards the Emperor Frederick III, who died in 1888 after a reign of only 
ninety-nine days. 

356 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

something to this effect: "Inasmuch as my Minister-President 
has left me in the lurch in the face of the enemy, and here I am 
not in a position to supply his place, I have discussed the 
question with my son; and as he has associated himself with 
the Minister-President's opinion, I find myself reluctantly 
compelled, after such brilliant victories on the part of the army, 
to bite this sour apple and accept so disgraceful a peace." I 
do not think I am mistaken as to the exact words, although the 
document is not accessible to me at present. In any case I have 
given the sense of it; and, despite its bitterness of expression, 
it was to me a joyful release from a tension that was becoming 
unbearable. I gladly accepted the royal assent to what I re- 
garded as poUtically necessary, without taking offense at its 
ungracious form. At this time military impressions were 
dominant in the king's mind; and the strong need he felt of 
pursuing the hitherto dazzHng course of victory perhaps in- 
fluenced him more than pohtical and diplomatic considerations. 

By the Peace of Prague (1866), which concluded the Seven Weeks' 
War, Austria relinquished her claims upon Holstein, consented to 
the dissolution of the old Germanic Confederation, and recognized 
Prussian leadership in Germany. Prussia now annexed the kingdom 
of Hanover, together with several other German powers which had 
sided with Austria in the war. Bismarck formed all the independent 
states north of the river Main into the North German Confederation, 
under the presidency of Prussia (1867). This was a great advance 
toward German unity. Baden, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Hesse- 
Darmstadt, the four states south of the Main, did not enter the con- 
federation, partly because they distrusted Prussia and partly because 
of French opposition to such a union. 

167. The Ems Telegram 1 

With his usual prescience Bismarck realized that a war with France 
" lay in the logic of history." The French emperor, Napoleon III, 
would never submit without a struggle to the formation of a strong 
German empire right on the border of France. Bismarck, for his 
part, welcomed a contest with France. If su:cessful, it would bring 
the South German states into an intimate alliance with the North 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 278-283. 

The Ems Telegram 357 

German Confederation; it would complete the work of unification 
under Prussia. After 1867 both France and Prussia prepared for 
the inevitable conflict. In 1870. when Prussia was ready, Bismarck 
brought it on in the following manner. The throne of Spain had be- 
come vacant and the Spaniards offered the crown to a cousin of King 
William. Napoleon at once informed the Prussian monarch that he 
would regard the accession of a Hohenzollern to the Spanish throne as 
a sufficient justification for war. In the face of this threat, William 
gave way and induced his cousin to decline the honor. Then Napo- 
leon went further and instructed the French ambassador to Prussia, 
Count Benedetti, to secure a pledge from William that a Hohenzollern 
prince would never, under any circumstances, become a candidate 
for the Spanish throne This pledge William refused to make, and 
from the watering-place of Ems, where he was then staying, telegraphed 
his decision to Bismarck at Berlin. Bismarck at the time was dining 
with Roon and Moltke. 

During our conversation I was informed that a telegram 
from Ems, in cipher, if I recollect rightly, of about 200 "groups," 
was being deciphered. When the copy was handed to me, it 
showed that Abeken had drawn up and signed the telegram 
at his Majesty's command, and I read it out to my guests, 
whose dejection was so great that they turned away from food 
and drink. • . 

On a repeated examination of the document I lingered upon 
the authorization of his Majesty, which included a command, 
immediately to communicate Benedetti's fresh demand and its 
rejection both to our ambassadors and to the press. I put a 
few questions to Moltke as to the extent of his confidence in 
the state of our preparations, especially as to the time they 
would still require in order to meet this sudden risk of war. 
He answered that if there was to be war he expected no ad- 
vantage to us by deferring its outbreak; and even if we should 
not be strong enough at first to protect all the territories on the 
left bank of the Rhine against French invasion, our preparations 
would nevertheless soon overtake those of the French, while 
at a later period this advantage would be diminished; he 
regarded a rapid outbreak as, on the whole, more favorable 
to us than delay. 

358 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

In view of the attitude of France, our national sense of honor 
compelled us, in my opinion, to go to war; and if we did not 
act according to the demands of this feeling, we should lose, 
when on the way to its completion, the entire impetus toward 
our national development won in 1866, while the German 
national feeling south of the Main, aroused by our military 
successes in 1866, and shown by the readiness of the southern 
states to enter the alliances, would have to grow cold again. . . . 
Under this conviction I made use of the royal authorization, 
communicated to me through Abeken, to publish the contents 
of the telegram; and in the presence of my two guests I reduced 
the telegram by striking out words, but without adding or 
altering, to the following form: 

^' After the news of the renunciation of the hereditary prince 
of HohenzoUern had been ofhcially communicated to the im- 
perial government of France by the royal government of Spain, 
the French ambassador at Ems further demanded of his Majesty 
the king that he would authorize him to telegraph to Paris that 
his Majesty the king bound himself for all future time never 
again to give his consent if the HohenzoUerns should renew their 
candidature. His -Majesty the king thereupon decided not to 
receive the French ambassador again, and sent to tell him 
through the aide-de-camp on duty that his Majesty had nothing 
further to communicate to the ambassador." The difference 
in the effect of the abbreviated text of the Ems telegram, as 
compared with that produced by the original, was not the result 
of stronger words but of the form, which made this announce- 
ment appear decisive, while Abeken's version would only have 
been regarded as a fragment of a negotiation still pending, 
and to be continued at Berlin. 

After I had read out the concentrated edition to my two 
guests, Moltke remarked, ''Now it has a different ring; it 
sounded before like a parley; now it is like a flourish in answer 
to a challenge." I went on to explain, ''If in execution of his 
Majesty's order I at once communicate this text, which con- 
tains no alteration in or addition to the telegram, not only to 

The Imperial Title 359 

the newspapers, but also by telegraph to all our embassies, 
it will be known in Paris before midnight, and not only on 
account of its contents, but also on account of the manner of 
its distribution, will have the effect of a red rag upon the Gallic 
bull. Fight we must if we do not want to act the part of the 
vanquished without a battle. Success, however, essentially 
depends upon the impressions which the origination of the 
war makes upon us and others; it is important that we should 
be the party attacked, and this Gallic overweening and touchi- 
ness will bring about this result if we announce in the face 
of Europe . . . that we fearlessly meet the public threats of 

This explanation brought about in the two generals a revul- 
sion to a more joyous mood, the liveliness of which surprised 
me. They had suddenly recovered their pleasure in eating and 
drinking and spoke in a more cheerful vein. Roon said, "Our 
God of old lives still and will not let us perish in disgrace." 
Moltke so far relinquished his passive equanimity that, glanc- 
ing up joyously toward the ceiling and abandoning his usual 
punctiliousness of speech, he smote his hand upon his breast 
and said, 'Tf I may but live to lead our .armies in such a war, 
then the Devil may come directly afterwards and fetch away 
the 'old carcass.'" He was less robust at that time than after- 
wards, and doubted whether he would survive the hardships 
of the campaign. 

168. The Imperial Title 1 

The successful issue of the war with France completed Bismarck's 
work of unifying Germany The four South German states came into 
the North German Confederation, which was now to be turned into 
the German Empire. On January i8, 1871, in the palace of Louis 
XIV at Versailles, and before an imposing company of sovereigns, princes 
and generals, King William of Prussia read the document proclaiming 
the reestablishment of the German Empire. William, it seems, did 
not care in the least for the imperial title and would gladly have re- 
mained merely president of the Confederation. Bismarck overcame 
the king's reluctance to be named emperor only to encounter another 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. iii, pp. 49-52. 

360 Bismarck and the Unification of Germany 

His Majesty raised a fresh difficuUy when we were fixing 
the form of the imperial title, it being his wish to be called 
Emperor of Germany, if emperor it had to be. In this situation 
both the Crown Prince, who had long given up his idea of a 
King of the Germans, and the Grand Duke of Baden lent me 
their support, each in his own way. . . . The Crown Prince sup- 
ported me passively with his company in the presence of his 
father and by occasional brief expressions of his views. These, 
however, did not strengthen me in my stand against the king, 
but tended rather to excite further the irritabihty of my august 
master. . . . 

In the final conference on January 17, 1871, he declined the 
designation of German Emperor, and declared that he would be 
Emperor of Germany or no emperor at all. I pointed out that 
the adjectival form German Emperor and the genitival Emperor 
of Germany differed in point both of language and period. 
People had said Roman Emperor and not Emperor of Rome; and 
the Tsar did not call himself Emperor of Russia, but Russian, as 
well as "united-Russian," Emperor. ... I further urged that 
under Frederick the Great and Frederick William II the thalers 
were inscribed Borussorum not BorussicB rex ^ and that the title 
Emperor of Germany involved a sovereign claim to the non- 
Prussian dominions, which the princes were not inclined to 
allow. . . . 

The discussion then turned upon the difference in rank 
between emperors and kings, between archdukes, grand dukes, 
and Prussian princes. My exposition that in principle emperors 
do not rank above kings found no acceptance, although I was 
able to show that Frederick William I, at a meeting with Charles 
VI, who, in point of fact, stood in the position of feudal lord to 
the Elector of Brandenburg, claimed and enforced his rights 
to equahty as King of Prussia by causing a pavihon to be erected 
which was entered by both monarchs simultaneously from op- 
posite sides, so that they might meet each other in the center. 

The agreement which the Crown Prince showed to my argu- 

1 "King of. the Prussians," not "King of Prussia." 

The Imperial Title 361 

ment irritated the old gentleman still more, and striking the 
table he cried, "And even if it had been so, / now command 
how it is to be. Archdukes and grand dukes have always had 
precedence of Prussian princes, and so it shall continue." With 
that he got up and went to the window, turning his back upon 
those seated at the table. The discussion on the question of title 
came to no clear conclusion ; nevertheless, we considered ourselves 
justified in preparing the ceremony for the proclamation of the 
emperor, but the king had commanded that there should be no 
mention of the German Emperor but of the Emperor of Germany. 
This position of affairs induced me to call upon the Grand 
Duke of Baden on the following morning, before the solemnity 
in the Galerie des Glaces,^ and to ask him how he, as the first of 
the princes present, who would presumably be the first to speak 
after the reading of the proclamation, intended to designate 
the new emperor. The Grand Duke replied, "As Emperor of 
Germany, according to his Majesty's orders." Among the 
arguments with which I urged upon the Grand Duke that the 
concluding cheers for the emperor could not be given under this 
form, the most effective was my appeal to the fact that the forth- 
coming text of the constitution of the empire was already fore- 
stalled by a decree of the Reichstag in Berlin. The reference 
to the resolution of the Reichstag, appealing, as it did, to his 
constitutional train of ideas, induced him to go and see the king 
once more. I was left ignorant of what passed between the 
two sovereigns, and during the reading of the proclamation I 
was in a state of suspense. The Grand Duke avoided the 
difficulty by raising a cheer, neither for the German Emperor 
nor for the Emperor of Germany, but for the Emperor William, 
His Majesty was so offended at the course I had adopted, that, 
on descending from the raised dais of the princes, he ignored 
me as I stood alone upon the free space before it, and passed 
me by in order to shake hands with the generals standing be- 
hind me. He maintained that attitude for several days, until 
gradually our mutual relations returned to their old form. 

1 "Gallery of Mirrors." 



The official documents relating to the outbreak of the 
war in 19 14 were soon published and are accessible in Eng- 
lish translations. It is well to remember that they were 
specially prepared for publication; furthermore, that they 
cannot give adequate information of the personal factor 
which is so important in all diplomatic matters. There 
is no reason, however, to doubt the authenticity of this 
diplomatic correspondence, which the various European 
governments have presented to the world. The letters 
and dispatches printed in the British White Book, the 
German White Book, the Russian Orange Book, the 
Belgian Gray Book, the French Yellow Book, the Austro- 
Hungarian Red Book, and the Serbian Blue Book con- 
firm one another's statements in a remarkable manner. 

169. The Austrian Note to Serbia 2 

The note which the Austro-Hungarian government addressed to the 
Serbian government on July 24 set forth the grievances which Austria- 
Hungary beUeved herself to have against Serbia. It referred partic- 
ularly to the assassination on June 28 at Serajevo of the Archduke 
Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, and his wife, by politi- 
cal conspirators of Serbian nationality or sympathy. In effect, though 
not in form, the note was an ultimatum, for it required Serbia, by 
six o'clock on the evening of July 25, to accept or reject the following 

"The royal government of Serbia condemns the propaganda 
directed against Austria-Hungary, the general tendency of 

1 Collected Diplomatic Documents Relating to the Outbreak of the European War. 
London, 1915. His Majesty's Stationery Ofl5ce. 

2 British White Book, No. 4. 

The Austrian Note to Serbia 363 

which is to detach from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy terri- 
tories belonging to it, and it sincerely deplores the fatal con- 
sequences of these criminal proceedings. 

''The royal government regrets that Serbian officers and func- 
tionaries participated in the above-mentioned propaganda 
and thus compromised the good neighborly relations to which 
the royal government was solemnly pledged by its declaration 
of March 31, 1909. 

"The royal government, which disapproves and repudiates 
all idea of interfering or attempting to interfere with the des- 
tinies of the inhabitants of any part whatsoever of Austria- 
Hungary, considers it a duty formally to warn officers and 
functionaries, and the whole population of the kingdom, that 
henceforth it will proceed with the utmost rigor against per- 
sons who may be guilty of such machinations, w^hich it will 
use all its efforts to anticipate and suppress." 

This declaration shall simultaneously be communicated to 
the royal army as an order of the day by his Majesty the 
king and shall be published in the Official Bulletin of the army. 
The royal Serbian government further undertakes: — 

1. To suppress any publication which incites to hatred and 
contempt of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the general 
tendency of which is directed against its territorial integrity; 

2. To dissolve immediately the society styled "Narodna 
Odbrana," to confiscate all its means of propaganda, and to 
proceed in the same manner against other societies and their 
branches in Serbia which engage in propaganda against the 
Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The royal government shall 
take the necessary measures to prevent the societies dissolved 
from continuing their activity under another name and form; 

3. To eliminate without delay from public instruction in 
Serbia, both as regards the teaching body and also as regards 
the methods of instruction, everything that serves, or might 
serve, to foment the propaganda against Austria-Hungary; 

4. To remove from the military service, and from the ad- 
ministration in general, all officers and functionaries guilty of 

364 Diplomacy of the Great War 

propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, whose 
names and deeds the Austro-Hungarian government reserves 
to itself the right of communicating to the royal government 
of Serbia; 

5. To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representatives 
of the Austro-Hungarian government for the suppression of 
the subversive movement directed against the territorial integ- 
rity of the monarchy; 

6. To take judicial proceedings against accessories to the 
plot of June 28 who are on Serbian territory; delegates of the 
Austro-Hungarian government will take part in the investiga- 
tion relating thereto; 

7. To proceed without delay to the arrest of Major Voija 
Tankositch and of the individual named Milan Ciganovitch, a 
Serbian state employee, who have been compromised by the 
results of the magisterial inquiry at Serajevo; 

8. To prevent by effective measures the cooperation of the 
Serbian authorities in the illicit traffic in arms and explosives 
across the frontier, to dismiss and punish severely the officials 
of the frontier service at Schabatz and Loznica guilty of having 
assisted the perpetrators of the Serajevo crime by facihtating 
their passage across the frontier; 

9. To furnish the Austro-Hungarian government with ex- 
planations regarding the unjustifiable utterances of high Ser- 
bian officials, both in Serbia and abroad, who, notwithstanding 
their official position, have not hesitated since the crime of 
June 28 to express themselves in interviews in terms of hostility 
to the Austro-Hungarian government; and, finally, 

10. To notify the Austro-Hungarian government without 
delay of the execution of the measures comprised under the 
preceding heads. 

To these demands Serbia made answer on July 25, shortly before 
the expiration of the time limit. The Serbian government agreed to 
hand over for trial any subject of whose complicity in the crime of 
Serajevo proofs were forthcoming, and also to publish an official state- 
ment condemning the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary. 

Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar 365 

Nearly all the other Austrian demands were accepted by the Serbian 
government, which offered, in case its reply was considered unsatis- 
factory, to refer the questions at issue to the Hague Tribunal or to the 
mediation of the Great Powers. The Austrian government rejected this 
reply as insincere and only " a play for time," and on July 28 declared 
war against Serbia. 

170. Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar ^ 

The issuance of the Austrian ultimatum precipitated a crisis. The 
peace of Europe was gravely threatened. Russia, the greatest of 
Slavic nations, whose interest in the Balkans was well known, could 
not regard without concern the crushing of a smaller Slavic state. 
But if Russia intervened to protect Serbia, by making war on Austria- 
Hungary, then Germany, as the latter's ally, wpuld surely attack 
Russia, and France, bound to Russia in firm alliance, would be obliged 
to attack Germany. To prevent the catastrophe of a general Euro- 
pean war, peace parleys began at once. The most important sugges- 
tion was made by Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister for Foreign 
Affairs. He proposed that the four powers not directly interested in 
the dispute, namely, Germany, France, Italy, and England, should 
mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg. Austria-Hungary, 
however, refused to accept any outside interference in settling what it 
regarded as a private quarrel with Serbia. The Austrian declaration 
of war against Serbia on July 28 was followed on the same day by the 
beginning of Russian mobilization. On the evening of the 28th the 
Kaiser, who had returned to Berlin from a holiday in Norway, sent 
the following telegram to his cousin, the Tsar. 

I have heard with the greatest anxiety of the impression 
which is caused by the action of Austria-Hungary against 
Serbia. The unscrupulous agitation which has been going on for 
years in Serbia, has led to the revolting crime of which Arch- 
duke Franz Ferdinand has become a victim. The spirit which 
made the Serbians murder their own king and his consort still 
dominates that country. Doubtless you will agree with me that 
both of us, you as well as I, and all other sovereigns, have a 
common interest to insist that all those who are responsible for 
this horrible murder shall suffer their deserved punishment. 

On the other hand, I by no means overlook the difficulty 

1 German White Book, exhibits Nos. 2o-23a. 

366 Diplomacy of the Great War 

encountered by you and your government to stem the tide 
of public opinion. In view of the cordial friendship which 
has joined us both for a long time with firm ties, I shall use my 
entire influence to induce Austria-Hungary to obtain a frank 
and satisfactory understanding with Russia. I hope con- 
fidently that you will support me in my efforts to overcome 
all difficulties which may yet arise. 

To this telegram the Tsar, early in the morning of July 29, replied 
as follows: 

I am glad that you are back in Germany. In this serious 
moment I ask you earnestly to help me. An ignominious war 
has been declared against a weak country, and in Russia the 
indignation which I fully share is tremendous. I fear that 
very soon I shall be unable to resist the pressure exercised 
upon me and that I shall be forced to take measures which 
will lead to war. To prevent such a calamity as a European 
war would be, I urge you, in the name of our old friendship, to 
do all in your power to restrain your ally from going too far. 

Later in the same day the Kaiser sent this message to the Tsar. 

I have received your telegram and I share your desire for 
the preservation of peace. However, I cannot — as I told you 
in my first telegram — consider the action of Austria-Hungary 
as an "ignominious war." Austria-Hungary knows from ex- 
perience that the promises of Serbia, as long as they are merely 
on paper, are entirely unreliable. 

According to my opinion the action of Austria-Hungary is 
to be considered as an attempt to receive full guaranty that the 
promises of Serbia are effectively translated into deeds. In 
this opinion I am strengthened by the explanation of the Aus- 
trian cabinet that Austria-Hungary intended no territorial 
gain at the expense of Serbia. I am therefore of opinion that 
it is perfectly possible for Russia to remain a spectator in the 
Austro-Serbian war, without drawing Europe into the most 
terrible war it has ever seen. I believe that a direct under- 
standing is possible and desirable between your government 

Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar 367 

and Vienna, an understanding which — as I have already tele- 
graphed you — my government endeavors to aid with all 
possible effort. Naturally, military measures by Russia, which 
might be construed as menace by Austria-Hungary, would ac- 
celerate a calamity which both of us desire to avoid and would 
undermine my position as mediator, which — upon your ap- 
peal to my friendship and aid — I willingly accepted. 

A few hours later, on the morning of July 30, the Kaiser sent another 
message, stronger in tone. 

My ambassador has instructions to direct the attention of 
your government to the dangers and serious consequences of a 
mobilization. I have told you the same in my last telegram. 
Austria-Hungary has mobilized only against Serbia, and only 
a part of her army. If Russia, as seems to be the case, accord- 
ing to your advice and that of your government, mobilizes 
against Austria-Hungary, the role of mediator with which 
you have intrusted me in such friendly manner and which I 
have accepted upon your express desire, is threatened, if not 
made impossible. The entire weight of decision now rests 
upon your shoulders: you have to bear the responsibility for 
war or peace. 

The Tsar, on the afternoon of July 30, made this answer: 

I thank you from my heart for your quick reply. I am send- 
ing to-night Tatisheff (Russian honorary aide to the Kaiser) 
with instructions. The military measures now taking form 
were decided upon five days ago, and for the reason of defense 
against the preparations of Austria. I hope with all my heart 
that these measures will not influence in any manner your posi- 
tion as mediator, which I appraise very highly. We need 
your strong pressure upon Austria so that an understanding 
can be arrived at with us. 

The situation quickly became acute. The two rulers exchanged 
further telegrams without result, since Russia refused to discontinue 
military preparations as long as Austria-Hungary was actually at war 
with Serbia. On the night of July 31 the German government sent 

368 Diplomacy of the Great War 

an ultimatum to Russia demanding demobilization of the Russian 
army, in default of which Germany would herself mobilize. Having 
received no answer to the ultimatum, Germany on August i declared 
war against Russia. 

171. The Attitude of England ^ 

War between Germany and Russia meant also the breaking out of 
hostilities between Germany and France. Under such circumstances 
what would be England's attitude? That country at first refused to 
take sides. Finally, on July 29 Sir Edward Grey informed the German 
ambassador in London that if France were involved England would 
be drawn into the conflict. At this very time the German Chancellor, 
Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, held an interview with the British 
Ambassador in Berlin for the purpose of securing England's neutrality. 
If England would remain aloof, Germany would agree not to take any 
French territory in Europe, should the German arms be victorious. 
The Chancellor refused, however, to give any assurance that the French 
colonies would remain untouched. Sir Edward Grey's reply to this 
offer, as sent to the British Ambassador at Berlin, was in these words: 

His Majesty's government cannot for a moment entertain 
the Chancellor's proposal to bind itself to neutrality on such 

What he asks us in effect is to engage to stand by while French 
colonies are taken and France is beaten, as long as Germany 
does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies. 

From the material point of view such a proposal is unaccept- 
able, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken 
from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great 
Power and become subordinate to German policy. 

Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace for us to 
make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a 
disgrace from which the good name of this country would never 

The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away what- 
ever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of 
Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either. 

Having said so much it is unnecessary to examine whether 

1 British White Book, No. loi. 

Belgian Neutrality 369 

the prospect of a future general neutrality agreement between 
England and Germany offered positive advantages sufficient 
to compensate us for tieing our hands now. We must preserve 
our full freedom to act as circumstances may seem to us to 
require, in any such unfavorable and regrettable develop- 
ment of the present crisis as the Chancellor contemplates. 

You should speak to the Chancellor in the above sense, and 
add most earnestly that the one way of maintaining the good 
relations between England and Germany is that they should 
continue to work together to preserve the peace of Europe; 
if we succeed in this object, the mutual relations of Germany 
and England will, I believe, be ipso facto improved and strength- 
ened. For that object his Majesty's government will work in 
that way with all sincerity and good-will. 

And I will say this: If the peace of Europe can be preserved, 
and the present crisis safely passed, my own endeavor will 
be to promote some arrangement to which Germany could be 
a party, by which she could be assured that no aggressive or 
hostile policy would be pursued against her or her allies by 
France, Russia, and ourselves, jointly or separately. I have 
desired this and worked for it, as far as I could, through the 
last Balkan crisis, and, Germany having a corresponding object, 
our relations sensibly improved. The idea has hitherto been too 
Utopian to form the subject of definite proposals, but if this pres- 
ent crisis, so much more acute than any that Europe has gone 
through for generations, be safely passed, I am hopeful that 
the relief and reaction which will follow may make possible 
some more definite understanding between the Powers than 
has been possible hitherto. 

172. Belgian Neutrality ^ 

To both England and France the preservation of the neutrality of 
Belgium was of the utmost importance. On August i, two days before 
the German declaration of war against France, the French Minister at 
Brussels, acting on instructions from his government, made the follow- 
ing communication to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs: 
1 Belgian Gray Book, Nos. 15, 20, 22. 

370 Diplomacy of the Great War 

I am authorized to declare that, in the event of an inter- 
national war, the French government, in accordance with the 
declarations it has always made, will respect the neutrality of 
Belgium. In the event of this neutrality not being respected 
by another power, the French government, to secure its own 
defense, might find it necessary to modify its attitude. 

On August 2 the German minister at Brussels presented this note to 
the Belgian Foreign Minister: 

Reliable information has been received by the German govern- 
ment to the effect that French forces intend to march on the 
line of the Meuse by Givet and Namur. This information leaves 
no doubt as to the intention of France to march through Bel- 
gian territory against Germany. 

The German government cannot but fear that Belgium, in 
spite of the utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, 
to repel so considerable a French invasion with sufficient pros- 
pect of success to afford an adequate guarantee against danger 
to Germany. It is essential for the self-defense of Germany 
that she should anticipate any such hostile attack. The Ger- 
man government would, however, feel the deepest regret if 
Belgium regarded as an act of hostility against herself the fact 
that the measures of Germany's opponents force Germany, for 
her own protection, to enter Belgian territory. 

In order to exclude any possibility of misunderstanding, 
the German government makes the following declaration: 

1. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. 
In the event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to 
maintain an attitude of friendly neutrality toward Germany, the 
German government binds itself, at the conclusion of peace, 
to guarantee the possessions and independence of the Belgian 
Kingdom in full. 

2. Germany undertakes, under the above-mentioned condi- 
tion, to evacuate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace. 

3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is pre- 
pared, in cooperation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase 

Belgian Neutrality 371 

all necessaries for her troops against a cash payment, and to pay 
an indemnity for any damage that may have been caused by 
German troops. 

4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in par- 
ticular should she throw difficulties in the way of their march 
by a resistance of the fortresses on the Meuse, or by destroying 
railways, roads, tunnels, or other similar works, Germany 
will, to her regret, be compelled to consider Belgium as an 

In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations toward 
Belgium, but the eventual adjustment of the relations between 
the two states must be left to the decision of arms. 

The German government, however, entertains the distinct 
hope that this eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian 
government will know how to take the necessary measures to 
prevent the occurrence of incidents such as those mentioned. 
In this case the friendly ties which bind the two neighboring 
states will grow stronger and more enduring. 

The answer which the Belgian government made on August 3 was 
in these words: 

This note has made a deep and painful impression upon the 
Belgian government. 

The intentions attributed to France by Germany are in con- 
tradiction to the formal declarations made to us on August i, 
in the name of the French government. 

Moreover, if, contrary to our expectation, Belgian neutrality 
should be violated by France, Belgium intends to fulfill her 
international obligations and the Belgian army would offer 
the most vigorous resistance to the invader. 

The treaties of 1839, confirmed by the treaties of 1870, 
vouch for the independence and neutrality of Belgium under 
the guaranty of the Powers, and notably of the government 
of his Majesty the king of Prussia. 

Belgium has always been faithful to her international obli- 
gations, she has carried out her duties in a spirit of loyal 

372 Diplomacy of the Great War 

impartiality, and she has left nothing undone to maintain and 
enforce respect for her neutrality. 

The attack upon her independence with which the German 
government threatens her constitutes a flagrant violation of 
international law. No strategic interest justifies such a viola- 
tion of law. 

The Belgian government, if it was to accept the proposals 
submitted to them, would sacrifice the honor of the nation and 
betray its duty toward Europe. 

Conscious of the part which Belgium has played for more 
than eighty years in the civilization of the world, it refuses 
to believe that the independence of Belgium can only be pre- 
served at the price of the violation of her neutrality. 

If this hope is disappointed, the Belgian government is firmly 
resolved to repel, by all the means in its power, every attack 
upon its rights. 

173. Speech of the German Chancellor ^ 

This series of diplomatic interchanges may fitly close with the 
historic speech of Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg before the Reich- 
stag on August 4. It explains the causes of the war from the German 

A stupendous fate is breaking over Europe. For forty-four 
years, since the time we fought for and won the German Empire 
and our position in the world, we have lived in peace and have 
protected the peace of Europe. In the works of peace we have 
become strong and powerful, and have faced the fact that, 
under the pretense that Germany was desirous of war, enmity 
has been awakened against us in the East and the West, and 
chains have been fashioned for us. The wind then sown has 
brought forth the whirlwind which has now broken loose. We 
wished to continue our work of peace, and, like a silent vow, the 
feeling that animated every one from the Kaiser down to the 
youngest soldier was this: Only in defense of a just cause shall 
our sword fly from its scabbard. 

1 Collected Diplomatic Documents, pp. 436-439. 

Speech of the German Chancellor 373 

The day has now come when we must draw it, against our 
wish, and in spite of our sincere endeavors. Russia has set 
fire to the building. We are at war with Russia and France 
— a war that has been forced upon us. 

Gentlemen, a number of documents, composed during the 
pressure of these last eventful days, are before you. Allow me 
to emphasize the facts that determine our attitude. 

From the first moment of the Austro-Serbian conflict we 
declared that this question must be hmited to Austria-Hungary 
and Serbia, and we worked with this end in view. All govern- 
ments, especially that of Great Britain, took the same attitude. 
Russia alone asserted that she had to be heard in the settlement 
of this matter. 

Thus the danger of a European crisis raised its threatening 

As soon as the first definite information regarding the mili- 
tary preparations in Russia reached us, we declared at St. 
Petersburg, in a friendly but emphatic manner, that military 
measures against Austria would find us on the side of our ally, 
and that military preparations against ourselves would oblige 
us to take counter-measures; but that mobilization would 
come very near to actual war. 

Russia assured us in the most solemn manner of her desire 
for peace, and declared that she was making no military prep- 
arations against us. 

In the meantime. Great Britain, warmly supported by us, 
tried to mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg. 

On July 28 the Kaiser telegraphed to the Tsar, asking him 
to take into consideration the fact that it was both the duty 
and the right of Austria-Hungary to defend herself against the 
pan-Serb agitation which threatened to undermine her existence. 
The Kaiser drew the Tsar's attention to the solidarity of the 
interests of all monarchs in face of the murder of Serajevo. 
He asked for the latter's personal assistance in smoothing over 
the difiiculties existing between Vienna and St. Petersburg. 
About the same time, and before receipt of this telegram, 

374 Diplomacy of the Great War 

the Tsar asked the Kaiser to come to his aid and to induce 
Vienna to moderate her demands. The Kaiser accepted the 
role of mediator. 

But scarcely had active steps on these lines begun, when 
Russia mobilized all her forces directed against Austria, while 
Austria-Hungary had mobihzed only those of her forces which 
were directed against Serbia. To the north she had mobilized 
only two army corps, far from the Russian frontier. The Kaiser 
immediately informed the Tsar that this mobilization of Russian 
forces against Austria rendered the role of mediator, which he 
had accepted at the Tsar's request, difficult, if not impossible. 

In spite of this we continued our task of mediation at Vienna 
and carried it to the utmost point which was compatible witli 
our position as an ally. 

Meanwhile Russia of her own accord renewed her assurances 
that she was making no mihtary preparations against us. 

We come now to July 31. The decision was to be taken at 
Vienna. Through our representations we had already obtained 
the resumption of direct conversations between Vienna and 
St. Petersburg, after they had been for some time interrupted. 
But before the filial decision was taken at Vienna, the news ar- 
rived that Russia had mobihzed her entire forces and that her 
mobilization was therefore directed against us also. The 
Russian government, which knew from our repeated state- 
ments what mobilization on our frontiers meant, did not notify 
us of this mobilization, nor did it even offer any explanation. 
It was not until the afternoon of July 31 that the Kaiser 
received a telegram from the Tsar in which he guaranteed that 
his army would not assume a provocative attitude toward us. 
But mobilization on our frontiers had been in full swing since 
the night of July 30-31. 

While we were mediating at Vienna in compliance with 
Russia's request, Russian forces were appearing all along our 
extended and almost entirely open frontier, and France, though 
indeed not actually mobihzing, was admittedly making military 
preparations. What was our position? For the sake of the 

Speech of the German Chancellor 375 

peace of Europe we had, up till then, deliberately refrained 
from calling up a single reservist. Were we now to wait further 
in patience until the nations on either side of us chose the mo- 
ment for their attack? It would have been a crime to expose 
Germany to such peril. Therefore, on July 31 we called upon 
Russia to demobihze, as the only measure which could still 
preserve the peace of Europe. The Imperial Ambassador at 
St. Petersburg was also instructed to inform the Russian 
government that, in case our demand met with a refusal, we 
should have to consider that a state of war existed. 

The Imperial Ambassador has executed these instructions. 
We have not yet learned what Russia answered to our de- 
mand for demobilization. Telegraphic reports on this question 
have not reached us, even though the wires still transmitted 
much less important information. 

Therefore, the time limit having long since expired, the 
Kaiser was obhged to mobilize our forces on August i at 5 p.m. 

At the same time we had to make certain what attitude 
France would assume. To our direct question, whether she 
would remain neutral in the event of a Russo-German War, 
France replied that she would do what her interests demanded. 
That was an evasion, if not a refusal. . . . 

Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity, and necessity 
knows no law. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and 
perhaps have already entered Belgian territory. 

Gentlemen, that is a breach of international law. It is 
true that the French government declared at Brussels that 
France would respect Belgian neutrality as long as her adver- 
sary respected it. We knew, however, that France stood 
ready for an invasion. France could wait, we could not. A 
French attack on our flank on the lower Rhine might have 
been disastrous. Thus we were forced to ignore the rightful 
protests of the governments of Luxemburg and Belgium. The 
wrong — I speak openly — the wrong we thereby commit 
we will try to make good as soon as our military aims have been 

376 Diplomacy of the Great War 

He who is menaced as we are and is fighting for his highest 
possession can only consider how he is to hack his way through. 

Gentlemen, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Austria- 

As for Great Britain's attitude, the statements made by 
Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons yesterday show the 
standpoint assumed by the British Government. We have 
informed the British Government that, as long as Great Britain 
remains neutral, our fleet will not attack the northern coast of 
France, and that we will not violate the territorial integrity 
and independence of Belgium. These assurances I now repeat 
before the world, and I may add that, as long as Great Britain 
remains neutral, we would also be willing, upon reciprocity 
being assured, to take no warlike measures against French 
commercial shipping. 

Gentlemen, so much for the facts. I repeat the words of 
the Kaiser: "With a clear conscience we enter the lists." We 
are fighting for the fruits of our works of peace, for the inheri- 
tance of a great past and for our future. The fifty years are 
not yet past during which Count Moltke said we should have 
to remain armed to defend the inheritance that we won in 1870. 
Now the great hour of trial has struck for our people. But 
with clear confidence we go forward to meet it. Our army is 
in the field, our navy is ready for battle — behind them stands 
the entire German nation — the entire German nation united 
to the last man. 


Note. — The pronunciation of many proper names is indicated either by a simplified spelling 
or by their accentuation and division into syllables. The diacritical marks employed are 
those found in Webster's New International Dictionary and are the following: 

a as in ale. 

6 as 

in old. 

oi as in oil. 

a " " senate. 

6 " 

" obey. 

ch " 

' chair. 

a " " care. 

6 " 

" orb. 

g " 

' go. 

a " " am. 

6 " 

'' odd. 

ng " 

' sing. 

a " " account. 

o " 

" soft. 

I) " 

' igk. 

a " " arm. 

6 " 

" connect. 

th " 

' then. 

a " " ask. 

u " 

" use. 

th " 

' thin. 

a " " sofd. 

u " 

" unite. 

tu " 

' natjjre. 

e " " eve. 

u " 

" urn. 

du " ' 

' verdure. 

e " " event. 

u " 

" up. 

K for ch as in Ger. ich 

e " " end. 

il " 

" circMS. 


g " " recmt. 

ii " 


N as in 

Fr. bon. 

e " " maker. 

6b " 

" food. 

y - " 


i " " Ice. 

do " 

'' foot. 

zh for 

z as in azure. 

i " " m. 

ou " 

" out. 

Aachen(a'Km). 5^6 Aix-la-Chapelle. 
Abbot, duties of a Benedictine, 23, 

Ablutions in Islam, 53. 
Aborigines, the American, 214-225; 

the Polynesian, 286-295. 
Acre (a'ker), siege and capture of, 

loi, 102. 
Agriculture, French, condition of, 

before the Revolution, 297, 300, 

301, 308. 
Aix-la-Chapelle (aks-la-sha-pel'), n 

and note 2, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 161. 
Ajaccio (a-yat'cho), Napoleon's na- 
tive town, 324 and note i. 
Alaii, 201. 
Alboin, Lombard king, 1-4. 

Alcuin (arkwm), 16. 

Al'dus Ma-nu'ti-us, 182 and note i. 

Alexius (d-lek'si-ws) III, Roman em- 
peror in the East, iii and note i, 
113, 114; IV, 114, 115. 

Alfred the Great, 65-70. 

Almsgiving in Islam, 49, 53. 

Alphonso II, 10. 

American Indians, the, described, 

Amiens, Treaty of, 327. 

Amusements of the Tahitians, 289. 

Anglo-Saxons, converted to Chris- 
tianity, 32-39; their customs, 77, 

Antarctica, supposed continent of, 

378 Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Aquitania (ak-wi-ta'ni-d), g, ig. 

Archers, English, at Crecy and 
Poitiers, 126, 127, 134; the Tar- 
tars as, 203, 205; the Cumana 
Indians as, 216. 

Aristocracy. See Nobility. 

Art, Renaissance, 188-195. 

Asia, travels of the Polos in, 196, 

Assassins, the, 199-201. 

Asser, Life of King Alfred by, 65. 

Assisi (as-se'ze), 91, 92. 

Astrologers, Chinese, 207, 208 and 
note I. 

Astronomy, Tahitian knowledge of, 

Astyanax (as-ti'd-naks), 335 and 
note 2. 

At'ti-la the Hun, 179, 194. 

Audoin, Lombard king, i, 2. 

Augustenburg, Prince of, 351, 352. 

Augustine (6-gus'tin), missionary 
labors of, in Kent, 33-36. 

AusterUtz (ous'ter-lits), battle of, 

329, 330, 333- 

Australia, 285, 292, 294. 

Austria, in the later Middle Ages, 
142; in the Napoleonic wars, 326, 
327, 329, 330, 333; at war with 
Denmark, 351; in the Seven 
Weeks' War, 352-356; sends an 
ultimatum to Serbia, 362-365; in 
the European War, 365, 366, 367, 

373, 374. 
Authari, Lombard king, 5, 6. 

Bseda. Sec Bede. 

Basilisk, a fabulous monster, 158 

and note 2. 
Bastille (bas-tel'), the, capture of, 

311, 312. 
Battle Abbey, 79. 
Bavaria, 5, 6, 142. 
Beatus Rhenanus, 180. 

Bede (bed), the "Venerable," Ec- 
clesiastical History of the English 
Nation by, 32. 

Beggars in Elizabethan England, 242. 

Belgium, neutrahty of, 368, 369- 
372, 375, 376. 

Benedetti, Count, 357. 

Beowulf (ba'o-woolf), extracts, 167- 

Ber'nard, Friar, 91-96. 

Bertha, Kentish queen, 34. 

Bethmann-HoUweg (bat'man-hol'- 
vaK), German Chancellor, 368, 
369, 372-376. 

Bezant, the, 206, note i. 

Bismarck, Prince, Reflections and 
Reminiscences of, 348-361. 

Black Prince, the, 126 and note 2, 
128, 129, 130, 134, 136, 137. 

"Blood and iron," 349. 

Boats, North American Indian, 219, 
220, 221; Polynesian, 290, 291. 

Bologna (bo-lon'ya), 94, 96, 141. 

Book of Ser Marco Polo, extracts, 

Bourbons (boor'bzms), the, 329, 335, 
336, 342. 

Brahmans (bra'mons), the, de- 
scribed by Marco Polo, 2 11- 2 13. 

Bread-fruit tree, the, 288, 289. 

Brienne, Napoleon at, 323, 3^4. 

Britain, Roman missionaries in, 

Bruges (briizh), 141. 
Brumaire (brii-mar'), Revolution of, 

Brunhild (broon'hilt), 176, 179. 
Bugga, Abbess, her letter to St. 

Boniface, 41, 42. 
Burgundy, 139, 141, 172. 

Cairo (kl'ro), 109, no. 
Calais (ka-le'), siege and surrender 
of, 130-134. 

Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 379 

Calendar of the Tahitians, 291. 

California, the Indians of, 223-225, 

Calvinism in England, 248, 249. 

Cam'ba-luc, capital of Cathay, 197, 

Campo Formio, Treaty of, 326. 

Candles of the Tahitians, 289, 290. 

Cannibalism, East Indian, 210; 
West Indian, 215. 

Canterbury, 35, 36, 45, 46, 247, 248. 

"Canting "or "peddler's French," 

Carlyle, Thomas, 260. 

Carolina, the Indians of, 218-220. 

Ca-thay', 207, 208. 

Celestial Mechanics, Laplace's, 327 
and note 2, 328. 

Ceylon, the pearl-fishers of, 210-21 1. 

Charing Cross, 271. 

Charlemagne (shar'le-man), con- 
quests and alliances of, 9-1 1; as 
a builder, 11, 12; his domestic 
life, 12, 13; his personaHty and 
habits, 13-16; the Church under, 
16-18; last days of, 18-21; in 
the Song of Roland, 160-164; 
Napoleon as the successor of, 

Charles I, king of England, 254-257, 
350; II, 268, 269, 271, 272. 

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, 
180, 186, 192, 232, 233, 234. 

Charles VIII, king of France, 138, 
143, 145, 147, 148. 

Charles Martel, 40, 

China, the Polos in, 197. See also 

Chivalry, 125. 

Christianity, reestablished in Britain, 
32-39; spread by St. Boniface 
in Germany, 40-47; in Norway, 

Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, 
extracts, 8 2-90. 

Chronicle of the Kings of England, 
extracts, 71-81. 

Chronicles, Froissart's, extracts, 125- 

Ci-pan'go, described by Marco 
Polo, 208-210. 

City of God, St. Augustine's, 15. 

City of London, the, 272 and note 
2, 273-275. 

Clarendon, History of the Rebellion 
by, 247. 

Clergy, French, under the Old Re- 
gime, 302, 305, 310. 

Clothing. See Costume. 

Coal in China, 207 and note 2. 

Coifi, 37-39- 

Collected Diplomatic Documents, ex- 
tracts, 362-376. 

Commines (ko-men'), PhiHppe de, 
Memoirs of, 138. 

Commons, House of, 250-252, 262, 

Conquest of Constantinople by Ville- 
hardouin, extracts, 107-117. 

Constantinople, sacked during the 
Fourth Crusade, 116, 117. 

Consulate, French, 322, 327. 

Convention, French National, 315, 

317, 325. 

Cook, Captain James, voyages of, 
285, 286, 292, 294, 295. 

Coronation chair, the, 271 and 
note 3. 

Costume, Frankish, 14; North 
American Indian, 217, 220; Eng- 
lish, in the Age of EUzabeth, 238- 
240; Polynesian, 287, 293. 

Coulaincourt, 330, 331, 334. 

Council of Five Hundred, 320, 322. 

Court Ufe under Louis XIV, 280-284. 

Crecy (kra-se'), battle of, 126-130. 

Cromwell, Oliver, Clarendon's opin- 
ion of, 257-259; place of, in 
English history, 260; during the 

380 Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Puritan Revolution, 260-267; his 

prayer, 267. 
Crossbowmen, Genoese, at Crecy, 

Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, 

the, 355 and note i, 360. 
Crusades: Third, 100-106; Fourth, 

Cumana Indians, the, 215, 216. 
Cun'i-mund, Lombard king, 3 and 

note 2. 
Customs, Anglo-Saxon, 77, 78; 

Norman, 78; Tartar, 202-205; 

American Indian, 215-225; Poly- 
nesian, 286-295. 

Dan'do-lo, Henry, doge of Venice, 
108-110, 112, 114, 116. 

Daniel, Bishop, instructions of, to 
St. Boniface, 42-44. 

Dead, the, treatment of, in Poly- 
nesia, 295. 

Denmark, at war with Prussia and 
Austria, 351. 

Denys de Morbeque, 135. 

Description of England by Wilham 
Harrison, extracts, 237-246. 

Des-i-de'ri-us, Lombard king, 12, 

Devil, the, 119, 156, 158, 234. 
Diary of Samuel Pepys, extracts, 

Directory, the, overthrown by Na- 
poleon, 320-322, 327. 
Divination, methods of, 46, 51, 93, 

207, 208, 211, 212. 
Divine right of kings. Napoleon on, 

342, 343- 
Divorce, the Mohammedan law of, 

52, 54. 
Doge (doj) of Venice, the, 108-110, 

112, 114, 116. 
Dom-i-ni'ca, the Indians of, 215. 
Dover, 130, 270. 

Drake, voyage of, around the world, 

223, 225. 
Dress. See Costume. 
Drogheda captured by Cromwell, 

Drury Lane, 302 and note i. 
Durendal, Roland's sword, 164, 165. 
Duroc (dii-rok'), 343. 
Dwellings, Tartar, 202; North 

American Indian, 217; English, 

in the Age of Elizabeth, 240; 

Polynesian, 287, 288, 293, 294. 

Eadburga, Abbess, letter of St. 
Boniface to, 44, 45. 

Easter Island, 296. 

Easterhngs, the, 142 and note i. 

Ecclesiastical History of the English 
Nation by Bede, extracts, 32-39. 

Edgar the ^theling, 71 and note 3. 

Education, Charlemagne's ideas 
concerning, 13, 16. 

Edward III, king of England, 126, 
128-130, 133. 

Edwin, king of Nor thumb ria, 37-39. 

E 'gin-hard. See Einhard. 

Egypt, Napoleon's campaigns in, 
326, 327- 

Einhard (in 'hart). Life of Charle- 
magne by, 9. 

Elba, Napoleon's return from, 335, 


Elizabeth, Queen, 218, 223, 225, 

Elizabethan seamen, voyages of, 
214-218, 220, 223, 225. 

Ems telegram, the, 356-359. 

Enchiridion (en-ki-rid'i-on). King 
Alfred's, 68, 60. 

Enghien (aN-gaN'), Due dc, execu- 
tion of, 329. 

England, under Alfred the Great, 
65, 69, 70; Norman Conquest of, 
71-77; the Hundred Years' War 

Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 381 

between France and, 126-137; 
in the Age of Elizabeth, 237-246; 
during the Great Rebellion, 247- 
259; in the Napoleonic wars, 326- 
328, 330, 331, 333, 337; atti- 
tude of, at the outbreak of the 
European War, 368, 369, 373. 

English Correspondence of St. Boni- 
face, extracts, 41-47. 

E-ras'mus, Des-i-de'ri-us, biograph- 
ical sketch of, 180-184; some 
letters of, 184-187; Luther's 
opinion of, 226, 227. 

Eskimos, the, 220-223. 

Estates-General, the, 304, 320. 

Esthonia, 56. 

Eth'el-bert, king of Kent, 34-36, 37. 

Etzel. See Attila. 

Explorers: the Polos, 196, 197; 
the Elizabethan seamen, 214, 215, 
216-218, 220, 223, 225; Captain 
James Cook, 285, 286, 292, 294, 

Farming. See Agricultiu"e, 

Fasting in Islam, 49, 50, 53. 

Festivals, 36, 37. 

Feudalism, decline of, 125, 130, 138, 

Fire-making, primitive methods of, 
217, 222. 

Florence, 141, 142, 145-149. 

Florida, the Indians of, 217, 

Fontainebleau (foN-ten-blo'), 190, 
283, 284, 335. 

Food, of the Tartars, 203-205; of 
the English in the Age of Eliza- 
beth, 237, 238; Polynesian, 288, 
289, 292, 294. 

Foods, forbidden, in Islam, 51. 

France, under St. Louis, 118, 120- 
124; the Hundred Years' War 
between England and, 126-137; 
under Louis XI, 138-141; under 

Louis XIV, 277-284; on the eve 
of the Revolution, 297-306; the 
Old Regime, 307-311; during the 
Revolution, 311-322, 324, 325; 
under Napoleon Bonaparte, 327- 
337; the Franco-Prussian War, 
356-359; enters the European 
War, 365, 368, 369, 374, 375. 

Francis I, king of France, 186, 190, 

Franks, the, under Charlemagne, 
9-1 1, 18 and note 3. 

Franz Ferdinand, Archduke, assas- 
sination of, 362, 365. 

Frederick Barbarossa, loi. 

Frederick the Wise, elector of Sax- 
ony, 230. 

French Revolution, the, 304-306, 
311-322, 324, 325. 

Frisia, the Northmen in, 12; mis- 
sionary labors of St. Boniface in, 
40, 42, note 2, 46. 

Frob'ish-er, Sir Martin, 220. 

Froissart (frwa-sar'), Jean, the 
Chronicles of, 125. 

Fulk of NeuHly, 107. 

Furniture, Enghsh, in the Age of 
Elizabeth, 240, 241; Polynesian, 

Ganelon, 161-164, 167. 

Garibald, king of Bavaria, 5, 6. 

Geatas, the, 167, 171. 

Genoa, 141, 142. 

Gep'i-dae, a Germanic tribe, 1-3. 

German Emperor, title of, 359-361. 

Germany, missionary activity of St. 
Boniface in, 40-46; feudal disor- 
der in, 142, 143; unification of, 
348, 351-353, 356, 357, 359; 
enters the European War, 365, 
367, 368, 370, 372-376. 

Ges'ta Ro-ma-no'rum, extracts, 150- 

382 Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Ghent (gent), 141. 

Giotto (jot'to), 188. 

Girth, Harold's brother, 74. 

Gisla, Charlemagne's sister, 13. 

Glan\ill, Ranulf de, 87. 

Glass, use of, introduced into Eng- 
land, 240. 

Gobi (go 'be), desert of, described, 
201, 202. 

Government of France under the 
Old Regime, 308, 309. 

Granada, 141 and note 2. 

Grand Canal of Venice, 143. 

Great Britain. See England. 

Great Fire, the, in London, 273-275. 

Great Plague, the, in London, 272, 

Gregory I, the Great, pope, 32, 33, 

36, 37, 47; n, 40, 42. 
Grendel, the monster, 16 7-1 71. 
Grey, Sir Edward, 365, 368, 369, 376. 
Gunther (goon'ter), 176-179. 
Gyda, Queen, 60, 61. 

Haakon, Earl, 61, 64. 
Habitations. See Dwellings. 
Hagen (ha 'gen), 173, 174, 176-179. 
Hakluyt (hak'loot), Richard, 214. 
Hampden, John, 253, 254. 
Hanover, annexed by Prussia, 356. 
Harold, king of England, 71, 72, 

Harrison, Thomas, trial and execu- 
tion of, as a regicide, 270 and 

note 6, 271. 
Harrison, William, Description of 

England by, 237. 
Harun-al-Rashid (ha-roon-al-ra- 

shed'), 10 and note i. 
Hastings, battle of, T^-TJ. 
Hawaiian Islands, the, natives of, 

294, 295. 
Hawkins, Sir John, 214, 215, 216, 


Heathenism, attitude of the Roman 
Church toward, 36, 37, 43, 44. 

Heimskringla, extracts, 56-64. 

Helmechis, 4, 5. 

Henry IV, king of France, 301 and 
note I. 

Henry VIII, king of England, 186, 
245, 246. 

Hildegard, wife of Charlemagne, 12, 

13, 19- 

History of the Langohards by Paul 
the Deacon, extracts, 1-8. 

History of the Rebellion by Claren- 
don, extracts, 247-259. 

History of St. Louis by Joinville, 
extracts, 1 18-124. 

Holy Land, the, Richard the Lion- 
hearted in, 102-106. 

Hours, the canonical, 30. 

Human sacrifice in Polynesia, 295. 

Hundred Years' War, the, 126-137. 

Huss, John, 234. 

Idols, Japanese, 209. 

Indians of North America, descrip- 
tions of, in the sixteenth century, 

Indulgences, Luther on, 227-229. 

Innocent III, pope, 107, 108. 

Interest, how regarded by Moham- 
med, 52, 53. 

Ireland, Cromwell in, 262. 

Isaac II, Roman emperor in the 
East, no, in, note i, 114. 

Islam (is '1dm), religious observances 
of, 48-51; civil and criminal law 
of, 51, 52. 

Istria, 10, 143. 

Italy, under the Lombards, 1-8; 
Charlemagne's conquests in, 9, 10; 
city republics of, 141, 142; Na- 
poleon's campaigns in, 325, 326. 

Itinerary of King Richard, extracts, 

Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 


Japan, origin of the name, 208, note 

3. See also Cipango. 
Jocelin of Brakelond, the Chronicle 

of, 82. 
John, king of France, 134-137. 
John de Vienne, Lord, 131, 132. 
Joinville (zhwaN-vel'), Jean de, 

History of St. Louis by, 118. 
Joseph Bonaparte, 324, 325, 329, 

330, 335- 
Josephine de Beauharnais, 332. 
Justice, administration of, by Alfred 

the Great and St. Louis, 69, 70, 

121, 122. 

Kaaba (ka'd-bd), the, 50 and note i. 

Kent, 34. 

Koran, the, 48. 

Kriemhild (krem'hilt), 172-179. 

Kublai Khan (koo'bli Kan'), 196, 

Kumiss, 203 and note i. 

Lafayette (la-fa-yet'), Marquis de, 

312, 338. 
Langobards. See Lombards. 
Laplace (la-plas'), French astrono- 
mer, 327 and note 2, 328. 
"Last Supper," the, by Leonardo 

da Vinci, 190. 
Latin Empire of Constantinople, 

116, 117. 
Laud, Archbishop, 247-249. 
Law, Frankish, 18 and note 3; 

Mohammedan, 51, 52. 
Leipzig, battle of, 2)2)i- 
Leo the Great, 194. 
Leo III, pope, 15, 18 and note i; 

X, 183, 185, 186, 194, 228- 

Leonardo da Vinci (la-6-nar'do 

da ven'che), 1 88-191. 
Letters of Martin Luther, extracts, 


Letters and Despatches of the First 
Napoleon, extracts, 2)'22>~2d)^- 

Letters and Speeches of Oliver Crom- 
well, extracts, 260-267. 

Lettres de cachet (let'r' de ka-she'), 

303, 309- 

Life of Charlemagne by Einhard, ex- 
tracts, 9-21. 

Life of King Alfred by Asser, ex- 
tracts, 65-70. 

Little Flowers of St. Francis, extracts, 

Liut'prand, Lombard king, 1,8. 

Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, 
Sculptors, and Architects by Va- 
sari, extracts, 188-195. 

Lombards, the, in Italy, 1-8. 

London, 272 and note 2, 273-275. 

Lon-gi'nus, 4. 

Lords, House of, 252. 

Louis, son of Charlemagne, 19. 

Louis IX, the Saint, king of France, 
118-124; XI, 138-141; XIV, 277- 
284, 309; XV, 308; XVI, 308, 
310-316, 342, 350. 

Lucca, 72, 141. 

Lucien Bonaparte, 320, 322. 

Luidhard, Bishop, 34. 

Luther, Martin, 226-236. 

Luxemburg (luk'sem-burg), neu- 
trality of, 375. 

Machiavelli (ma-kya-vel'le), 258 

and note 2. 
Magi (ma'ji), the three, 197 and 

note 2, 198, 199. 
Maintes (maNt), destroyed by Wil- 

Uam the Conqueror, 80. 
Mainz (mints), 11 and note 3, 20. 
Maize, 215 and note 2. 
Malmaison (mal-me-zoN'), 332 and 

note I. 
Malmesbury, 71. 
Manny, Sir Walter, 131, 132. 

384 Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Marie Antoinette, 313. 
Marie Louise, 332, 337, 344- 
Marly, residence of Louis XIV at, 

280, 281. 
JVIarquesas (mar-ka'sas) Islands, 

the, natives of, 292-294. 
Marriage customs of the Tartars, 

Marsile, Moorish king, 161, 162. 
Marston Moor, battle of, 260, 

Masseo (mas-sa'o). Friar, 96-98. 
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Em- 
peror, 186. 
Mayence. See Mainz. 
Medici (med'e-che), Lorenzo de', 

146 and note i. 
Melanchthon (me-lar)K't6n), Philip, 

226, 234, 235. 
Mellitus, Abbot, letter of Gregory 

the Great to, 36, 37. 
Memoirs of Commines, extracts, 

Memoirs of Metternich, extracts, 

Memoirs of Pasquier, extracts, 307- 

Memoirs of Saint-Simon, extracts, 

Metternich (met'er-niK), Prince, 

Memoirs of, 339. 
Michelangelo Buonarroti (me-kel- 

an'ja-l6 bwo-nar-ro'te), 191-193. 
Mo-ham 'med, the teachings of, 48- 

Moltke (molt'ke), Helmuth von, 

348, 357-359> 376. 

Monastery, conduct of a Benedic- 
tine, 27-29. 

Monasticism according to the Bene- 
dictine Rule, 22-31; in medieval 
England, 82-90. 

Money, Chinese and Mongol paper, 

Mongols, the, 202. 

Monk, General, 270. 

Monks, occupations of Benedictine, 

30, 31- 

Monna Lisa, portrait of, by Leo- 
nardo da Vinci, 190 and note i, 

Mon'te Cas-si'no, monastery of, i. 

Moors, the, 12, 160, 161, 162, 164, 

Mosaics, Venetian, 144. 

Moscow, Napoleon's retreat from, 

32>2>, 345- 
Moslems. See Saracens. 

Nantes (naNt), 302. 

Napoleon I, Bonaparte, correspond- 
ence of, 323-338; Metternich's 
character sketch of, 339-347; II, 
335 and note i, 336, 337; III, 

356, 357- 

Naseby, battle of, 261, 262. 

Navy, Charlemagne's, 1 2 ; the Vene- 
tian, 145. 

New Guinea, 285, 292. 

New Hebrides, the, 292, 296. 

New Testament, the, edition of, by 
Erasmus, 183, 185, 186. 

New Zealand, 285, 292, 294, 296. 

Nihehingenlied (ne'be-loong-en-let) , 
the, extracts, 172-179. 

Nicholas II, Russian emperor, 365- 

367, 373> 374- 
NobiHty, French, under the Old 
Regime, 278, 301, 303, 305, 306, 

Normans, the, conquest of England 

by, 72-77; their customs, 78. 
North German Confederation, the, 

356, 359- 
Northmen, the, 12, 55, 56, 112 and 

note I, 172. 
Northumbia, 37. 
Northwest Passage, the, 220, 294. 

Index and Pronouncings Vocabulary 385 

Norway, Christianity introduced 

into, 61-63. 
Novgorod (nov 'go-rot), 56, 57. 
Numeration, Taliitian, 291. 

Olaf Trygvesson, the saga of, 56-64. 
Old Man of the Mountain, the, 

story of, 199-201. 
Old Regime, the, in France, 307-311. 
Oliver, peer of France, 161, 162. 
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, 

20, note I. 
Ottoman Turks, the, 117. 

Pacific Ocean, the, exploring voy- 
ages of Captain Cook in, 285, 286, 

292, 294, 295. 
Palaces, French: Fontainebleau, 

190, 283, 284, 335; Versailles, 

280, 312, 359; Marly, 280, 281; 

Tuileries, the, 312, 313, 314, 325; 

Malmaison, 332 and note i. 
Pal'li-um, the, 45 and note 3. 
Papacy. See Roman Church. 
Paradise, the Mohammedan, 199. 
Paris under the Old Regime, 280, 

Parlement of Paris, the, 307, 309, 

310, 312. 
Parhament, Cromwell and, 264-266. 
Pasquier (pa-kya'), Chancellor, 

Memoirs of, 307. 
Paul the Deacon, History of the 

Langohards by, i. 
Pau-H'nus, missionary labors of, in 

Northumbria, 37-39. 
Pearl-fishers of Ceylon, the, 210, 

Peasantry, French, condition of, 

under the Old Regime, 297-299. 
Peking. See Cambaluc. 
Pep 'in the Short, 9, 12, note 2. 
Pepys (peps), Samuel, Diary of, 


Philip II, Augustus, king of France, 
loi, 102, 123 and note i; VI, 
126, 127, 129. 

Pilgrimages in Islam, 50. 

Pisa (pe'sa), 141. 

Pliny the Elder, 185 and note i. 

Poetry, medieval epic, 160. 

Poitiers (pwa-tya'), battle of, 134- 


Polignac (p6-len-yak'), 350 and 
note I. 

Polo, Marco, travels of, 196, 197. 

Polynesians, the, described, 286- 

Portents, 20, 162, 163. 

Prague (prag). Peace of, 356. 

Prayer, Cromwell's, 267. 

Press, freedom of the, under the 
Old Regime in France, 305, 309, 

Principal Navigations, Voyages, 
Traffiques, and Discoveries of the 
English Nation, edited by Hak- 
luyt, extracts, 214-225. 

Prose Edda, the, 172. 

Prussia, in the Napoleonic wars, 
330, 333; revolutionary move- 
ment in, 348-350; at war with 
Denmark, 351; makes peace with 
Austria after the Seven Weeks' 
War, 352-356; becomes head of 
the North German Confedera- 
tion, 356; reestablishes the Ger- 
man Empire, 359. 

Punishments, Enghsh, in the Age of 
Elizabeth, 242, 244, 245. 

Purgatory, 227, 228. 

Puritan Revolution, the, 247-267. 

Raffaello (raf-fa-el'lo) Sanzio, 194, 

Raleigh (ro'li). Sir Walter, 218. 
Ram-a-dan' , 50, 51. 
Raphael. See Raffaello Sanzio. 

386 Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Rathbod, heathen king of the 
Frisians, 42 and note 2. 

Reflections and Reminiscences, Bis- 
marck's, extracts, 348-361. 

Reformation, the Protestant, 226. 

Regicides, the, trial and execution 
of, 270, 271. 

Reichstag (riKs'taK), the, 361, 372. 

Reign of Terror, the, 317-320. 

Rehgion, Polynesian, 295. 

Renaissance (re-na'sans) , the, Eras- 
mus as a scholar of, 180; revival 
of learning during, 186, 187; 
artists of, 188. 

Richard de Templo, 100. 

Richard the Lion-hearted, 100-106. 

RicheHeu (re-she-lyu'), 309. 

Robbers in Elizabethan England, 
242, 243. 

Robert of Sorbon, Master, 120. 

Robespierre (ro-bes-pyar'), 319. 

Roland, peer of France, 160-167. 

Roman Church, the, fostered b}'- 
Charlemagne, 16-18; missionary 
activity of, ^z, 36, 2>7, 4o, 45, 46; 
in England, under William the 
Conqueror, 79; fostered by St. 
Louis, 123; Luther's attitude 
toward, 230-232. 

Roman emperors in the East, the, 
7, II, 18, no. III, note I, 114. 

Rom'u-ald, 7, 8. 

Roncesvalles (Span, pron., ron-thes- 
val'yas), pass of, 160, 167. 

Roon, Albrecht von, 348, 357, 359. 

Ros'e-mund, 3 and note 2, 4, 5. 

Rule of St. Benedict, extracts, 23-31. 

Russia, the Northmen in, 56, 57; 
in the Napoleonic wars, 327, 
329, 330, 332, 333) enters the 
European War, 365, 367, 368. 

Sabbath, the Mohammedan, 49 and 
note 2. 

Sa-bur'rus, 7, 8. 

Sagas, the, 56. 

St. Augustine (6-gus'tm), 15 and 

note I, 227. 
St. Benedict, 22. 
St. Boniface, missionary career of, 

St. Denis (de-ne'), 127 and note i, 

St. Edmundsbury, monastery of, 

St. Francis, 91-99. 
St. George, 134 and note 2. 
St. -Germain (saN-zhar-maN'), pal- 
ace, 280; abbey, 302. 
St. Jerome, 227. 
St. Mark, church of, 144. 
St. Martin, 35, 69, 79. 
St.-Simon (saN-se-moN'), Due de. 

Memoirs of, 276, 277. 
Sal'a-din, 102, 103, 105, 106. 
Samson, abbot of St. Edmundsbury, 

82, 85-90. 
Sar'a-cens, the, 102-105, ii9> iQQ- 
Sa-ra-gos'sa, 160, 161. 
Savonarola (sa-vo-na-ro'lii), Giro- 

lamo, 145-149. 
S chleswig-Holstein (shlaz ' viK-hol '- 

shtin), annexation of, to Prussia, 

351, 352, 353, 356. 
Schwyz (shvets), canton of, 142. 
Serbia, Austrian note to, 362-365; 

in the European War, 365-367, 

373, 374. 

Sieges: Acre, loi, 102; Constanti- 
nople, 110-114; Calais, 130. 

Siegfried (zeK'fret), 173-179. 

Siena (sye'na), 141, 142. 

Sig'is-mund, Holy Roman Emperor, 

Signory of Florence, the, 148 and 

note I. 
Sigurd, uncle of Olaf Trygvesson, 

56, 57- 

Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 387 

Slavery, how regarded by Moham- 
med, 54. 
Snorre Sturla on, the Heimskringla 

by, 56. 

Society Islands, the, 285, 292, 293, 

Somerset, duke of, 246. 
Song of Roland, the, extracts, i6o~ 

Spain, 141, 160, 357. 
Speeches and Table-talk of the Prophet 

Mohammed, extracts, 48-55. 
Stamford Bridge, battle of, 74 and 

note 2. 
Strafford, Lord, trial of, 249-251; 

attainder and execution of, 251- 

253, 350. 
Suleiman (soo-la-man') II, 192. 
Sweden, 331, 333. 
Switzerland in the Middle Ages, 142. 

Table-talk of Mohammed, extracts, 

Taboo, Polynesian, 295 and note i. 
Tahiti (ta'he-te), the natives of, 

Talleyrand (ta-le-raN'), 321, 330, 

Talma, French actor, 344, 
Tartars, the, customs of, 202-205. 
Tatars. See Tartars. 
Tattooing, American Indian, 217; 

Polynesian, 286 and note i, 287, 

Thanet, Isle of, 34. 
The-mis'to-cles, 337 and note i. 
Theses, Luther's, 230. 
Theu-de-lin'da, 5, 6. 
Thing, Norse general assembly, 60, 

61, 62. 
Thor, Norse deity, 62, 63. 
Tilsit, Peace of, 330, 333. 
Titian (tish'an), 188. 
Tonga Islands, the, 292, 295, 296. 

Tools of the Tahitians, 290. 
Torture forbidden in England, 244. 
Tower of London, the, 253, 273. 
"Transfiguration of Christ," the, 

by RaffaeUo, 195. 
Travels in France by Arthur Young, 

extracts, 297-306. 
Treason, punishment of, in England, 

True Cross, the, 105, 106. 
Tuileries (twel-re'), the, 312, 313, 

314, 325- 
Turisind, 1-3. 
Turismod, 1-3. 
Turpin, Archbishop, 162. 
Tyburn, 244 and note i. 

Unification of Germany, 348, 351- 

353, 356, 357, 359- 
Universities, EngHsh, in the Age 
of Elizabeth, 245, 246. 

Vasari (va-za're), Giorgio, Lives by, 

Venetians, the, participation of, in 
the Fourth Crusade, 108-117. 

Venezuela, the Indians of, 215, 

Venice, a city-republic, 141, 142; 
described, 143-145. 

Vergil, medieval conception of, 151 
and note 2. 

Versailles (ver-sa'y'), residence of 
Louis XIV at, 280, 359; the 
revolutionists at, 312; proclama- 
tion of the German Empire at, 


Vi 'kings. See Northmen. 

Villehardouin (vel-ar-dwaN'), Geof- 
froy de. Conquest of Constanti- 
nople by, 107. 

Voltaire (vol-tar'), Napoleon's opin- 
ion of, 340, 341. 

Vows, the monastic, 24-27. 


Index and Pronouncing Vocabulary 

Warfare, Tartar mode of, 204, 

Washington, George, death of, 328. 

Wends, the, 58 and note i. 

Westminster Abbey, 271, 272. 

Westminster Hall, 249, 254. 

Will, Napoleon's, 337, 338. 

William I, the Conqueror, king of 
England, 71-77, 78-81. 

William I, king of Prussia, 348-351, 
353-356, 357, 359-361; II, Ger- 
man emperor, 365-367, 373, 374, 
375, 376. 

William of Malmesbury, Chronicle 

of the Kings of England by, 71. 
Wine, use of, prohibited in Islam, 

Witenagemot (wit'g-nd-ge-mot), 72. 
Women, position of, under Islam, 

52, 54. 
Worcester, battle of, 269 and note i. 
Worms (vorms), 173, 234. 
Wynfrith. See St. Boniface, 


Arthur, Travels in France by, 




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